New statutory guidance on school exclusions

Following new legislation in the Education Act 2011, a different procedure for school exclusions exists from 1 September 2012.

New guidance for this legislation explains how all Independent Appeal Panels will be replaced by Independent Review Panels.  The powers of the panel have been limited in that they can no longer order a reinstatement of the excluded child.  However, they can do the following:

- uphold the decision of the governing body;
- recommend that the governing body reconsiders the decision; or
- direct the governing body to reconsider its decision

A direction to reconsider, rather than just a recommendation to do so, will be limited to circumstances where a panel decides that the school has acted illegally or irrationally, or where there have been significant flaws in procedure.  If the governing body is directed to reconsider and does not reinstate the excluded pupil, the panel may order a readjustment in the school’s budget.  In the case of an academy, the panel may order a maximum payment of £4,000 to the Local Authority to put towards the costs of alternative provisions being made for the pupil.

Head teachers, governing bodies and Local Authorities must have regard to and follow the guidance.  We recommend that exclusion policies are checked and adjusted accordingly.

The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.