Student Behaviour and Exclusions Policy

1. Expectations

On average more than 85% of our students study at A level and it is safe to say that most of them choose to study in a predominantly sixth form environment because of the ‘grown up’ ethos they find at Ashbourne. This means that relations between staff and students are much more informal and less hierarchical than found in more traditional schools and that students experience much more freedom than they have previously enjoyed. With freedom comes responsibility so any failure to conform to the common sense rules for student behaviour found below will neither be ignored nor tolerated. 

Our approach to GCSE students is more traditional so that, with the possible exception of lunchtimes, they are supervised during the entire school day. However many of the aspects of the personal and informal approach found at A level apply here too. 

Ashbourne is committed to helping students prepare themselves for their future education and careers. Ashbourne has a selective admissions policy, accepting students we believe have the maturity, commitment and drive to excel in our environment. As a result we expect students to act in a mature adult manner, adhering to our behaviour code and supporting overall ethos. Nevertheless, failure to do so will lead to disciplinary sanctions.

2. Lessons

Each lesson runs for two consecutive 50-minute periods with a 10-minute break halfway through. All lessons finish at 10 minutes to the hour to give students sufficient time to proceed to their next lesson. While GCSE students will always be timetabled between the hours of 9am and 4pm each day, A Level students are only required to be on site during scheduled lesson times, which vary according to each student’s individual timetable. Lessons generally run between the hours of 9am and 6pm with a one-hour break for lunch from 1pm to 2pm. On occasion, there may be some supplementary lessons or language classes for native speakers that may run from 6pm to 8pm or Saturdays.

Ashbourne has a flexible timetable but may require changing the timetable at short notice. While we try to reduce timetable changes as much as possible, students should be aware that classes can be scheduled from 9am to 6pm and this should be considered ‘Ashbourne time’.

3. Promoting good behaviour and rewards

Ashbourne encourages students to set and maintain the highest standards of behaviour and has many facilities to promote good behaviour. At the beginning of each year, certain members of the student body are elected or chosen as leaders for their year group as a part of Ashbourne’s Y12 Student Voice or Y13 Student Council. Members of the Student Voice and Student Council will work together to present to the management team their expectations of student behaviour at Ashbourne. The result of this collaboration will then be displayed in each classroom in the school. It is critical for students to take ownership of their behaviour and this exercise is an important step towards creating a culture of responsibility.

Students who demonstrate outstanding conduct with regard to academic performance, attendance, work ethic, attitude and effort throughout the year (or who demonstrate significant improvement in a particular subject area) are eligible to be considered for the Ashbourne Autumn and Spring Honour Roll, which is displayed throughout the College.

At the end of the year celebration Ashbourne also recognises exceptional students at the College’s Annual Awards. These awards are specifically for Year 13 students who have excelled academically. There are 24 awards given at this evening, which includes a Gold, Silver and Bronze for subjects within each of the eight faculties.

During the first term of each year Ashbourne will appoint a Student Council of approximately 10 students. Students who are appointed are expected to undertake minor responsibilities throughout the year, including (but not necessarily limited to) participation in Parents Evenings, Open Evenings, and the Drama Department’s annual auditions.

The system for promoting good behaviour is under constant review and, at the discretion of the Director of Studies, may be modified or altered at any stage without notice.

4. General support, and students with Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities (SEND)

All A level students are assigned a Personal Tutor at the beginning of each academic year. The Personal Tutor acts as a liaison between the student, teachers and parents and may be contacted at any time should parents or guardians have concerns about the student’s education in any respect.

Students with SEND issues are supported by our Designated Safeguarding Lead, SENCO and their deputies. These members of our team enable Ashbourne to deal with misbehaviour in two ways: first by imposing appropriate sanctions and second, should the misbehaviour arise because of some SEND issue, by offering support, monitoring and counselling (including an external counsellor) to help such students cope with similar situations in future.

For further information please refer to our SEND and Access Arrangements policy.

5. Code of Conduct

It is important to establish certain ground rules in order to ensure good order and a pleasant, respectful, safe working environment for both staff and students. There are six principal rules concerning academic matters at Ashbourne; students must:

    1. Attend all classes on time
    2. Submit all homework, coursework, mocks and assignments promptly and to the best of their  ability
    3. Show commitment to their studies inside and outside of the classroom – actively engage during lessons, and work in a manner that does not disrupt the class.
    4. Respect fellow students and all members of staff
    5. Respect our need for security, and to comply with our Child Protection and Safeguarding Policy, by wearing a lanyard and ID at all times on College premises
    6. Comply with our policy on e-safety and acceptable use of technology.

The Code of Conduct and the sanctions provided in this policy shall also, in appropriate circumstances, apply to the conduct of students when they are away from College premises and outside the jurisdiction of the College, for example during half term and in the holidays. Any student’s conduct which affects the welfare of a member or members of the school community or which could bring the College into disrepute is a matter for College discipline. Students must also conform to the ‘General Rules’ below.

6. General Rules

Level 1
Minor breaches
These are initially dealt with informally but are recorded and may involve a warning and communication with parents or guardians. The following are examples of minor breaches of the College’s Student Behaviour and Exclusions Policy although the list is not exhaustive:

  1. Failure to a) attend all classes on time, b) hand in all homework/coursework/assignments to the best of the student’s ability and c) show a commitment to their studies inside and outside of the classroom
  2. Plagiarism is forbidden. Students who plagiarise homework or coursework will receive a formal warning and may face further disciplinary penalties. For more detail please consult our Plagiarism Policy.
  3. Failure to speak English at all times while in College, thus creating needless division among students. 
  4. Smoking (including Vaping and other alternatives) is not permitted anywhere inside the College and is prohibited for students under the age of 18. Students should never handle smoking paraphernalia within the building. For more information please refer to Ashbourne’s Alcohol and Smoking Policy.
  5. Photocopiers are for staff use only.
  6. The libraries, common rooms, and computer lab must be treated with respect appropriate to their purpose. 
  7. Unless otherwise agreed with the teacher, mobile phones must be switched off and stowed away at all times during lessons and may only be used in the College common rooms. Students should be aware that inappropriate use of these devices can result in their confiscation. (See Ashbourne’s Student Acceptable Use Policy.)
  8. Personal Tutoring Sessions are a mandatory element of the College curriculum and all students are expected to attend these sessions without exception.
  9. Eating and drinking during lesson time is prohibited except with the consent of the teacher. Hot food is not permitted under any circumstances. In general food brought onto the premises should be consumed in the common room, common areas or study areas. 
  10. Students should be considerate of others and refrain from bringing any foods into the College that give off a strong or unpleasant odour.

Level 2
Repeated Level 1 offences become Level 2 offences. These will also be recorded and trigger a meeting with parents or guardians the upshot of which is most often a final warning and possibly suspension.

Level 3
Serious breaches
The following are examples of  serious breaches of the College’s Student Behaviour and Exclusions Policy which could lead to suspension or exclusion (this list is not exhaustive):

  1. Supply/possession/use of certain drugs and solvents or their paraphernalia or substances intended to resemble them, including alcohol or tobacco.
  2. Theft, blackmail, physical violence, intimidation, racism or persistent bullying.
  3. Misconduct of a sexual nature.
  4. The possession of obscene material in any form is strictly prohibited.
  5. The possession or use of unauthorised firearms or other weapons (including knives).
  6. Vandalism or computer hacking.
  7. Cheating on an examination, whether a mock assessment, controlled assessment, coursework, practical or official examination.
  8. Persistent attitudes or behaviour which are inconsistent with the College’s ethos.
  9. Disrespect for any member of staff – all students are under the protection and authority of the College’s staff and are therefore expected to abide by their instructions at all times in order to ensure their own health and safety and the smooth operation of the College.
  10. Any serious act of verbal or physical aggression, gross insubordination, or any other serious misconduct which affects the welfare of a member or members of the College community or which brings the College into disrepute (single or repeated episodes) on or off College premises.

7. Rules for GCSE (year 11) students

Whilst the general rules and behaviour code apply to all students, there are a few additional rules that apply solely to GCSE students.

  1.  All GCSE students must be present for Registration in Young Street daily at 8.50am and 1.50pm. Persistent lateness may result in a Homework Saturday.
  2. GCSE students who have reached the age of 16 are permitted to leave the site during the lunch break. Students who are under 16 may leave the site during the lunch hour provided the College has received parental consent. If students do not have consent to leave the site during the lunch break, they must ensure that they bring a packed lunch with them to the College each day.
  3. Ashbourne will designate classrooms for GCSE students to eat their lunch (1pm to 2pm). It is the responsibility of all GCSE students to ensure that they leave the room tidy upon leaving.
  4. It is important that all GCSE students are aware that they should not travel to classes between buildings unaccompanied. The Head of GCSE or another member of staff will accompany all GCSE students from building to building. When students need to move between buildings, the Head of GCSE will make necessary arrangements. For A level students who have not yet turned 16 a risk assessment is carried out by the College and, with the parent’s permission, the student may be allowed to move between buildings unaccompanied.
  5. In keeping with statutory Government guidance on providing Citizenship education as a key element of SMSC (Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural) development, British Values and Prevent awareness, Ashbourne delivers this education largely through its Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education (PSHEE) Curriculum. PSHEE is an essential part of developing key life skills and wider-world knowledge in students. It helps to prepare pupils for life as engaged citizens and to meet its opportunities, challenges and responsibilities. PSHEE is a compulsory subject for all GCSE students, just as Personal Tutor sessions (which continue the PSHEE and Citizenship Curriculum) are for A level students in Year 12. PSHEE has an important role to play with regard to behaviour and in particular may be used to promote inclusivity for those with protected characteristics.

8. Disciplinary Procedure

Ashbourne has a graduated scale for dealing with any disciplinary concerns related to student behaviour or academic performance. All infractions of the College’s Student Behaviour and Exclusions Policy are dealt with based upon their nature and severity as outlined below:

  1. Level 1 offences are minor breaches of the behaviour code
  2. Level 2 offences are repeated level 1 offences.
  3. Level 3 offences are either serious breaches of the Ashbourne behaviour code or minor breaches that have been repeated even after being escalated to a Level 2 offence.

For all levels of indiscipline, the classification of an incident at level 1, 2, or 3 is at the discretion of the attending staff. At all meetings to review behaviour the student will be given the opportunity to defend themselves and state their reasons for their poor behaviour.

Level 1

  1. In the first instance, sanctions for level 1 incidents will be dealt with by teachers, or the member of staff involved, and passed on to Personal Tutors when offences repeat. Personal Tutors monitor students’ academic progress and therefore will intervene where necessary.
  2. For level 1 offences, any meeting between the student and the Personal Tutor will not involve parents. Nevertheless, parents will be kept in the loop about any concerns with student progress or behaviour. In the first instance the Personal Tutor will try to resolve the issue with the student in an informal manner, usually giving the student a date by which to rectify the behaviour or warning the student that repeated misbehaviour will lead to a Homework Saturday or possibly a meeting with parents.
  3. The following academic incidents will trigger a Level 1 meeting with a Personal Tutor, which will also involve notifying the parent/key behaviour contact:
    1. Attendance slips below 90%
    2. The student is cumulatively late for classes over 100 minutes within one half-term
    3. The student has 5 outstanding pieces of homework within one half-term
  4. During the meeting, the student will be given an opportunity to explain/defend their behaviour. After considering their behaviour, the Personal Tutor is likely to ask the students to attend a Saturday Homework, where they will have to report to the Young Street reception and stay at Young Street for the duration of their Homework Saturday, completing the tasks assigned by the Personal Tutor.
  5. If a student’s attendance falls below 90%, the Personal Tutor has the right to waive the student’s right to contact the College to report absences. If this is the case, the Personal Tutor will inform the student and parents or behaviour contact that the Attendance Officer will only accept communication from parents or the behaviour contact if the student is unable to attend class.

Level 2

  1. Sanctions for level 2 incidents, which are repeated incidents of level 1, will involve a formal meeting with the student, parent and Personal Tutor.
  2. The Personal Tutor will outline the reasons for concern and the student will be given the opportunity to respond to the concerns raised.
  3. A date will be set to review the student’s behaviour and an email to follow up the meeting will be sent to all parties concerned.
  4. Failure to improve behaviour by the review date or future repeated level 1 offences will either lead to another formal meeting with the student, parent and Personal Tutor (following the same steps as shown above) or a suspension (in line with our Suspensions and Expulsions Policy).
  5. If the Personal Tutor feels that a student should be suspended, they will present their case to the Director of Studies, Head of Year and Principal.
  6. A suspension may involve at least one day away from the College. In cases where a student has been suspended due to repeated level 1 offences, Ashbourne will want to minimise the number of classes that students will miss. Therefore, students may be suspended overnight or over the weekend.
  7. After a suspension, before a student is allowed to return to the College, they will have to complete the ‘Re-entry’ procedure, which involves the following:
    1. Write an email to the Personal Tutor (and other people involved) apologising for the poor behaviour and explaining the steps that will be put in place to improve things going forward.
    2. Attend a meeting at 8.30am (unless agreed otherwise), prior to the start of the day when they return. The Personal Tutor will go through the reasons that they were suspended and ensure that the student is clear of more serious consequences should behaviour not improve.
    3. Failure to improve performance after this will lead to level 3 or our disciplinary procedure.

Level 3

  1. Sanctions for level 3 incidents will involve a formal meeting with the student, parent and Personal Tutor.
  2. During this meeting the same procedure will take place as discussed in a level 2 meeting.
  3.  At the end of the meeting, the student will be told to go home and the Personal Tutor will consult with the Director of Studies, Head of Year (where applicable) and Principal to review all of the details from the case, including the student’s side of events.

8.1 Other Sanctions

Personal Tutors may prescribe and authorise the use of such other sanctions as comply with good education practice and tend to promote observance of the Code of Conduct. For example, Personal Tutors may remove a student from class for a day to sit in the Old Court Place (OCP) premises library because of poor behaviour. This is not a suspension; in such instances, students will sit in the OCP library and engage in any work related to their education. Parents will be notified.

Removal from class is a sanction often utilised for Middle School students, as they are required to be at College from 9am to 4pm throughout the week. Middle School students may be removed from class due to disruption, failure to complete assigned homework or other behavioural issues. This sanction may be referred to as an ‘internal suspension’ when dealing with students so they understand the importance of the action. However, removal from class is not a suspension as defined within the Suspension and Expulsion Policy.

9. Use of Restraint

Any use of restraint by staff must be reasonable, proportionate and lawful. Restraint will be used only when immediately necessary and for the minimum time necessary to prevent a student from doing or continuing to do any of the following:

  1. Committing a criminal offence.
  2. Injuring themselves or others.
  3. Causing damage to property, including their own.

Where restraint is used by staff, a written record is made of this incident. If possible the restraining member of staff should try to explain to the student the reasons for restraint.

10. Records

Administration of major sanctions are recorded in the Student Database, with the name of the student concerned, the reason for the sanction and the name of the person administering the sanction. The Head of Academic Administration is responsible for the recording this information in the Suspension and Expulsion Database.

11. Attendance policy

Good attendance correlates significantly to academic achievement and so Ashbourne expects students to attend all lessons punctually. Where this expectation is not met students will undergo intervention with the Attendance team, their Personal Tutor and with their parents/guardians involved so that measures can be taken to improve their attendance.

Parents and guardians can view a student’s attendance record on the parent portal. For more detailed information please refer to our Attendance Policy.


Authorised by The Principal
Date September 2020
Effective date of the policy September 2020
Circulation Teaching staff / all staff / parents / Students on request
Review date September 2021