Independent Review Panel (IRP)
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).
An Independent Review Panel is made up of three to five panel members:
- A lay member to Chair the panel who has not worked in any school in a paid capacity, disregarding any experience as a school governor or volunteer.
- School governors who have served as a governor for at least 12 consecutive months in the last five years, provided they have not been teachers or head teachers during this time.
- Head teachers or individuals who have been a head teacher within the last five years.
The panel members will have no connections with the school/academy. They can decide to:
- uphold the exclusion;
- recommend that the governing body reconsiders their decision; or
- quash the decision and direct that the governing body / proprietor considers the exclusion again
You can have the decision reviewed by an IRP even if you do not want your child to return to the school.
You can apply for a review even if you did not make a case to, or attend, the Exclusion Hearing at which the governors considered your child’s permanent exclusion.
How to request a review by the IRP
In order to apply for an Independent Review Panel Hearing you should:
- Write a signed and dated letter or email, within the specified timeframe, to:
- The Independent Review Panel
School Admissions Service
3rd Floor River Park House
225 High Road
- The Independent Review Panel
- In the letter set out the reasons for applying for a review
- Indicate whether you are requesting the attendance of a Special Educational Needs (SEN) expert. You can make this request whether or not your child has been assessed as having SEN. The SEN expert’s role will not include making an assessment of the child’s special educational needs.
The IRP must meet to consider the application for review, no later than the 15th school day after the day on which the application was received.
You lose your right to an IRP hearing if the application is received after the 15th school day after the day on which you were informed, in writing, of the governors’ decision not to reinstate your child (notice is considered to be given on the same day if it is delivered directly or on the second working day after posting if it is sent by first class mail).
The Independent Review Panel’s decision may be subject to judicial review, and the judge of the judicial review could quash the original decision and order that a fresh hearing is arranged. In order to bring an action for judicial review, the IRP must have made an error in law / acted unreasonably / in breach of natural justice. The application for judicial review should be made promptly but at least within three months of the date of the decision.
Examples of potential maladministration that could lead to a complaint include the following:
- The panel was not properly constituted, e.g. a member of the panel was not truly independent and had links to the school
- The panel relied on information provided by the school that has subsequently been shown to be false
- A parent was not allowed to properly participate in the proceedings
- A parent did not receive proper notice of the panel hearing.
Disability Discrimination Claims
If you believe that the exclusion was based on disability discrimination you can make a claim to the First-Tier Tribunal for Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND).
- Parents can make a claim to First Tier Tribunal for SEND as well as or instead of going to the Independent Review Panel.
- The First-Tier Tribunal will look at the disability aspects of the exclusion afresh.
- The First-Tier Tribunal has the power to reinstate your child, even if their name has already been removed from the school roll.
- Parents must lodge their claim within 6 months of the exclusion.
- First-tier Tribunal (Special Educational Needs and Disability)
1st Floor, Darlington Magistrates Court
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Tel: 01325 289 350
- Fax: 0870 739 4017
- Tel: 020 8489 3873 or 020 8489 5086
- Email: SchoolExclusionEnquiries@haringey.gov.uk
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