16 April 2012
Following the changes in the Education Bill new provisions will come into force on 1 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.
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.
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 in a procedurally flawed manner.
Where a governing body decides not 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/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).
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.
Until September the current guidance continues to apply
(http://www.education.gov.uk/schools/pupilsupport/behaviour/exclusion/a0076478/exclusion-guidance) with addition of updated summary for head teachers, governing bodies, teachers, parents and pupils http://www.info4local.gov.uk/documents/publications/2127732