All state schools and Academies must have regard to the Department of Education Guidance on exclusions which is issued by the Secretary of State. Some Local Authorities will also issue supplementary guidance.
There are various types of exclusions;
Permanent Exclusions should only result where there have been serious breaches of the behaviour policy, which could include behaviour off school premises, and should only be imposed if to allow the student to remain in school would seriously harm the education and welfare of the student or others in the school.
Fixed Period Exclusions
Fixed Period Exclusions should only be imposed for breaches of the behaviour policy that do not warrant permanent exclusion and lesser sanctions are considered appropriate.
The key points to remember are that exclusions:
- Should only be imposed as a last resort
- Should only be imposed after a thorough investigation has been undertaken
- Can only be imposed by the head teacher
- Schools should never implement a zero tolerance policy on behaviour; such a policy would remove their ability to exercise discretion when making a decision
Unfortunately not all schools implement their policy appropriately and some students are excluded when they shouldn’t be. For example we find that some students who have been excluded actually have special educational needs that have not been properly addressed.
This is why Attwaters Jameson Hill’s Education Law solicitors are here.
We pledge to provide every client with outstanding personal service and communication, unrivalled industry knowledge and a proven track record of successfully representing clients regarding exclusions from state schools and academies.
How do we achieve this?
If exclusion is 5 days or fewer in one term a parent can make representations which must be considered by the Governing Body, and although the Governing Body cannot direct reinstatement it can place a note of its findings on the student’s school record.
If a fixed term exclusion of more than 5 days has been imposed a parent can appeal to the Governing Body of the School. The Governing Body must follow a set procedure, they must consider parental representations, and may direct reinstatement of the student.
If a parent is not satisfied with the decision of the Governing Body there is a further right of appeal to an Independent Review Panel. Although the Independent Review Panel cannot order reinstatement of the student, they can make recommendations to the Governing Body to reconsider their decision; or they can quash the Governing Body’s decision and direct that they reconsider their decision.
Although the Governing Body should attempt to make the process as informal as possible, it remains a judicial type of process which can be quite intimidating.
Obtaining clear, high quality legal advice as soon as possible will ensure the correct issues can be identified and appropriate representations made.