Appealing against an exclusion
How to appeal
If you feel your child has been excluded unfairly, you can appeal the decision – also known as 'making a representation'.
How representations are made to the school’s governing body will depend on the length of the exclusion.
- Fixed term exclusions of 5 days or less in a term
The governing body must consider any representations made by parents, but it cannot force the school to change its position, and is not required to arrange a meeting with parents
- Fixed term exclusion between 6-15 days
Parents have the right to ask to make written representations and to meet with the governing body to review the exclusion. This review is usually called the ‘Exclusion Hearing’ and will be held by the 50th day following the start of the exclusion. This time frame usually does not allow the child to return to school before the end date of the exclusion
- Fixed term exclusion which would bring the student's total number of school days of exclusion to more than 15 in a term or permanent exclusion
The clerk to the school governors will write to the parents inviting them to the Exclusion Hearing. The exclusion hearing must happen with 15 school days of the notification of the exclusion.
- Lunchtime exclusions count as a half day exclusion in school records but not as half a day in terms of attendance as the child is expected to return after the lunch period. Two lunchtime exclusions count as a 1 day exclusion, therefore, depending on the number of lunchtime exclusions parents are able to make representations in line with the timeframes above.
The Governing Body Exclusion Hearing
In order to carry out their legal duty to review all fixed term exclusions of more than 15 days (including multiple exclusions within a term) and permanent exclusions, the school’s governing body will arrange a special meeting to review the exclusion. This meeting is usually called an Exclusion Hearing, Exclusion Panel or Governing Body Disciplinary Committee Review.
The Exclusion Hearing is formed by three to five governors who have been appointed by the full governing body to consider cases of exclusion. It is they who, after hearing all submissions by the head teacher, parents, child and local authority representative (where relevant) will decide whether to uphold the head teacher’s decision to exclude or to reinstate the child to school.
You are allowed to engage legal advocacy to help you prepare and present your case at the hearing. You may also wish to have a friend or family member accompany you.
A local authority representative will be present for all permanent exclusions from maintained schools. For Academies, you may invite a representative of the local authority to attend as an observer. That representative may only make representations with the governing body’s consent. Local authority representatives will help to ensure that guidance has been followed but cannot act as an advocate for the child or family.
Students should be allowed and encouraged to attend the hearing and speak on their own behalf, if they wish to do so, subject to their age and understanding.
Fair Hearings and Natural Justice
It is important that the governing body provides all parties with a fair hearing and that the rules of natural justice are adhered to.
All parties should:
- Have time to prepare and right of reply
- Have the right to be represented or accompanied
- Be able to ask questions and call witnesses
- Be given reasonable opportunity to state case without unreasonable interruption
- Have access to the same paperwork and information
- If a new issue arises during the hearing, parties should be offered the opportunity to consider/comment
- No panel member should have any involvement in earlier stages of proceedings or
- Been party to the head teacher’s decision to exclude or
- Have a vested interest in the outcome of the proceedings
What happens next
The Clerk to the Exclusion Hearing will write to you to advise of the decision and the reasons for their decision, in writing and without delay.
If the governors do not agree with the Head Teacher and decide to reinstate your child to school the letter will be added to your child’s school record, thus cancelling out its effect, but the letter of exclusion cannot be removed from the file.
If the governors agree with the Head Teacher’s decision to exclude, the Clerk will write to parents confirming the decision.
If a permanent exclusion is upheld by the school governors, and if you feel that this decision was unfair, you may request that the decision should be reviewed by an Independent Review Panel (IRP).
- Tel: 020 8489 3873 or 020 8489 5086
- Email: SchoolExclusionEnquiries@haringey.gov.uk
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