Last Updated: Thursday, June 09, 2022

Included, engaged and involved part 2: A positive approach to preventing and managing school exclusions

What is this?

​This policy guidance was published in June 2017 and replaces Included, engaged and involved part 2: A positive approach to managing school exclusions (2011).

This refreshed guidance has more of a focus on preventative approaches, whilst continuing to give clear guidance on the regulations and statutory duties on a local authority with regard to exclusion.

Who is this for?

​Local authority representatives and senior leaders in schools will find this guidance and accompanying presentations and films helpful. Practitioners will also find the content helpful.​

​How to use this self-evaluation approach to improve practice

The key messages within the guidance include:

  • Local Authorities and schools are expected to update their local policy in line with the refreshed guidance.
  • There is an expectation for learning establishments to place a greater importance on inclusion through effective learning and teaching; promoting positive relationships and behaviour; and employment of preventative approaches which reduce the need to consider exclusion.
  • Exclusion should only be used as a last resort and should be proportionate.
  • All exclusions must be recorded. Pupils should never be sent home to ‘cool off’.
  • There is a duty on education authorities under the 1980 Act to make education provision for excluded pupils without undue delay.
  • There is no legal/statutory requirement for a contract or assurance of good behaviour to be in place before a pupil returns to school following an exclusion.
  • A support plan should be in place to support the return of an excluded pupil.

This guidance also includes new and updated sections on the impact of exclusion; de-escalation and physical intervention and managing incidents involving weapons.

Between February and April 2018 six regional implementation events were held to support local authority representatives in their implementation of the guidance. These events provided a brief overview of the updates to the guidance but also included further information on the impact of exclusions; the use of weapons and gave a school perspective on work that was being undertaken to prevent and manage exclusions.

Improvement questions

  • ​To what extent do we promote a positive culture and ethos in our school that supports positive relationships and helps all our children and young people to be fully included, engaged and involved?
  • How well do we embed approaches that support positive relationships within the school and ensure that there are staged intervention systems in place that prevent the need for exclusion?
  • How well do staff know the key messages within Included, Engaged and Involved Part 2 and adhere to these in their daily practice?
  • Do we have a clear policy that adheres to the key messages within Included, engaged and involved part 2?

External link

Scottish government publication: Included, engaged and involved part 2: A positive approach to preventing and managing school exclusions (2017) (1.1 MB)

Explore this resource​

‘Included Engaged and Involved Part 2: a positive approach to preventing and managing school exclusions’ focuses on approaches that can be used to prevent the need for exclusion, ensuring all children and young people are Included, Engaged and Involved in their education.

This aligns with the Scottish Government aim to make Scotland the best place to grow up and give all children the best possible start in life. It recognises that relationships are​​ at the heart of including and engaging all children and young people in Scottish schools.

This guidance was developed to help guide both local authorities and schools in the development of their own policies and guidance which should reflect the key messages in the document. In addition, there are a number of helpful appendices which will help guide practice including:

  • Approaches to improving positive relationships and behaviour
  • Checklists for considerations prior to, during and after exclusion
  • Scottish Government National Statistics on Exclusions from school.

In addition a number of presentations and videos are provided which formed part of the implementation events and will support local authorities and schools in the implementation of this guidance. These include:

  1. A presentation on the overview of the main messages within the guidance
    PDF file: IEI 2 Implementation event presentation (652 KB)
  2. A presentation on the impact of school exclusion and creating an inclusive learning environment
    PDF file: The impact of school exclusions - Sue Brookes (3 MB)
  3. A presentation which provides an overview of the No knives, better lives programme which is a Scottish national programme to deter young people from carrying knives.
    PowerPoint presentation: No Knives, Better Lives​ (647 KB)​​

A number of schools were able to support the implementation events around Scotland and this provided helpful practical ideas on how schools can take forward the vision and aims as outlined in the guidance. The videos provide information from one such school – Kilwinning Academy in North Ayrshire, who outline their vision and values in supporting children and young people to feel included, engaged and involved as well as providing information on some of their key approaches.


Linzie Sloan, DHT, Kilwinning Academey provides and overview of their vision.


Eilidh James, , PT, Pastoral Support Kilwinning Academy provides an overview of some of the approaches taken in their setting.


Karen McKillop, Pupil Support Teacher and Eilidh James, PT, Pastoral Support discuss professional learning in Kilwinning Academy.​​​​