Home / Work & Childcare Articles / Discipline at school and what to expect

Discipline at school and what to expect

Discipline at school and what to expect

Written by:

All schools need a discipline policy otherwise they wouldn’t be able to function properly. A discipline or behaviour policy is usually written by the head teacher and includes behaviours that are deemed unacceptable as well as the school’s policy for dealing with such conduct. The policy should also include actions that will be taken to prevent bullying. You should be able to get a copy of the policy from your children’s school on request.

Most children won’t feel the full force of school discipline as they usually tow the line and act in a considerate and respectful manner. However, as a parent it is useful to know what kind punishments are doled out for certain types of offences.

Written exercises

Written exercises are usually completed at home or in detention. They might include composing a letter of apology, an essay about what they did wrong or writing the same line over and over again, for example, ‘I must not shout in class’.


Schools don’t have to give parents and carers notice or a reason for detention and parental consent is not needed. Pupils relying on school transport to get home will usually be given a lunchtime detention rather than being kept back after school but the teacher should ensure that pupils are left with enough time to get something to eat and drink before classes recommence.

Discipline at school and what to expect


The school has the right to search your child if they are suspected of carrying weapons, fireworks, pornographic material, drugs, alcohol, cigarettes or anything else banned by school rules. There should be two members of staff, preferably of the same sex as your child, present when the search is carried out and at no time should your child be asked to remove any clothing other than an outdoor jacket.


There are two types of exclusion – fixed period, where the child is suspended for a certain length of time, and permanent, which means the child is expelled from the school. If your child has been suspended then the school has a duty to set and mark work for the first five days. For longer fixed periods and for expulsions, full-time education will be organised from the sixth day onwards either by the school or the local authority. It is your responsibility to ensure your child isn’t found in a public place, such as a park or shopping centre, during the exclusion time.

Other punishments

Teachers have other punishments that they are allowed to use. These include giving a telling off, confiscating banned items, removing a child from the lesson or writing a letter to the parents/carers.

What if you disagree?

If you disagree with a punishment your child has received at school then you are entitled to challenge it. The first thing you should do is make an appointment with the head teacher to discuss the issue. If you’re not satisfied with the result then you can request a copy of the complaints procedure to take it further.





About Maria Brett

About Maria Brett

Maria is a freelance writer with over 10 years' experience producing content for a variety of publications and websites. When not working or looking after her two gorgeous sons, she can usually be found playing flugelhorn in a brass band, helping out at her local hospital radio station, shouting at the television while watching Formula 1, at the cinema or plonked on the couch with a cold glass of wine.

Website: Maria Brett

View all posts by