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New arrangements for school exclusion

New arrangements for school exclusion

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New arrangements for school exclusion come into force in September 2012. These will apply to any pupil excluded on or after 1 September 2012 from a maintained school, academy school / Free School, alternative provision academy / Free School or pupil referral unit in England.

Revised regulations and guidance for those with legal responsibilities in relation to exclusion are now available here: http://www.education.gov.uk/schools/pupilsupport/behaviour/exclusion/g00210521/statutory-guidance-regs-2012

Overview

Under the new arrangements, the process for challenging a school’s decision to permanently exclude a pupil will change. The current system of independent appeal panels will be replaced by independent review panels.

Where requested by a parent, an SEN expert will need to be appointed by the local authority or academy trust to advise the independent review panel.

The independent review panel will be able to uphold the decision to permanently exclude a pupil; recommend that the governing body reconsider its decision; or direct the governing body to reconsider its decision. A direction to reconsider will be limited to circumstances where a panel decides that the school has acted illegally, irrationally or where there are significant flaws in procedure.

Where a governing body decides not to offer to reinstate a pupil following a direction from a panel to reconsider its decision, the panel will be expected to require an adjustment to a schools budget or payment of £4,000 towards the cost of alternative provision.

Where a parent alleges discrimination (under the Equality Act 2010) in relation to a fixed period or permanent exclusion, they will also be able to make a claim to the First-tier Tribunal (for disability discrimination) or a County Court (for other forms of discrimination).

Key responsibilities

Headteachers

  • Headteachers’ powers to exclude remain unchanged but there will be new statutory guidance on the use of these powers.

Governing bodies

  • Governing bodies will perform the key role of determining whether an excluded pupil should be reinstated. This will involving reviewing the decision of the headteacher and considering the outcome of any independent review panel hearing.

Local authorities / academy trusts

  • Where requested by a parent, local authorities or academy trusts will need to arrange an independent review panel to consider the decision of a governing body to uphold a permanent exclusion.
  • Panel members will need to be trained in how to perform their role.
  • Local authorities or academy trusts will also need to appoint a special educational needs expert to advise the panel, where requested by a parent.
  • Local authorities will need to oversee adjustments to a school’s budget or payments by a school, where a school does not offer reinstatement following a direction by a panel to reconsider its decision to permanently exclude a pupil.

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