Exclusions will not be over-ruled

Written by: HTU | Published:

Appeals panels will no longer be able to force headteachers to take back excluded pupils, as long as the decision is “legal, reasonable and fair".

Appeals panels will no longer be able to force headteachers to take back excluded pupils, as long as the decision is “legal, reasonable and fair".

From September, new rules for maintained schools, academies and pupil referral units mean that schools can be directed to “revisit" their decision, but cannot be forced to take a child back.

The new review panels can tell a school to look again if they believe an exclusion has not been “legal, reasonable and fair". In this scenario, if a school still stands by its exclusion then it will have to pay £4,000 towards the cost of alternative provision for the excluded pupil. The new system will also see an advisory role for SEN experts who will guide the independent review panels.

Schools minister Nick Gibb said: “Restoring the authority of teachers and headteachers is an important part of the objective of raising standards of behaviour in schools.

“When headteachers decide that they have no choice but to expel a persistently disruptive or uncooperative pupil that decision must not be undermined by an appeal process which can result in the pupil returning to the school against the wishes of the school and its leadership.

“These new rules preserve the right to have a decision to expel a child reviewed by an independent panel but take away the power to force the return of the pupil to the school."

In 2009/10, there were 37,210 fixed-period exclusions from state-funded primary schools (the average length of which was 2.1 days) and 14,910 from special schools. There were 620 permanent exclusions from primaries and 100 from special schools.

The government is currently trialling a new approach to exclusions with 300 secondaries where the schools retain responsibility for permanently excluded pupils and work together to secure alternative provision.

An in-depth look at the implications of recent high profile reports into pupil referral units and the future of alternative provision.

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