Recently, I have written a piece of guidance for the trust that I work for, in order to support the trust exclusion process. I was finding that I was being asked to support schools more and more with exclusions so I wrote a piece of guidance to help support this. I thought it may be helpful so posted it here. Please keep in mind that thsi has been written for schools who have Associate Principals and/or Executive Principals in academies but the general premise is the same for schools with different leadership structures and LA or maintained schools. The main changes between LA schools and academies are when parents make written appeals against exclusion decisions.
This guidance serves to support Head Teachers if they decide to exclude children. It sets out the difference between fixed term and permanent exclusions and it clarifies what constitutes to illegal exclusions. It also gives general guidance on the exclusion process, including time frames, and gives advice on what paperwork needs to be prepared for the Governor Review Meeting and/or the Independent Review.
This document should be read alongside:
- DfE: Exclusion from maintained schools, academies and pupil referral units in England
- The Trust Exclusion Policy
Guidance and policy
The exclusion process is part statutory and part non-statutory (it differs slightly between academies and local authority maintained schools) and the key driving policy behind it is the DfE policy mentioned above. The DfE policy governs the exclusion of pupils from local authority maintained schools, academies, free schools and pupil referral units. This also includes special schools (PMLD, SEBD etc) who are controlled by any of the listed educational establishments. All schools must follow the stipulated guidance from the DfE unless they have good reason not to. If in a particular case there is good reason not to, it would be good practice to document what was done and the reason why.
Exclusions are the most serious consequence that a school can issue to a child in this country. This blog post aims to highlight some of the key points when considering exclusions as well as looking at the balance of when and when not to exclude as well as the implications for excluding children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND). As well as this, I will offer my own thoughts and experience on exclusions. If you want to read further on exclusions, I would suggest reading DfE: Exclusion from maintained schools, Academies and pupil referral units in England.
The power to exclude
Schools can choose to exclude children on the grounds of disciplinary only. They cannot exclude for any reason and infact, they must protect children and make sure that all children are treated fairly and not excluded on the grounds of things such as disability or race. Only the Head of a school or academy can exclude a child (that includes Executive Heads) and no-one else. Many people can contribute towards the child and the evidence but it is only the Head who can authorise this and therefore they must be the one who signs the letter. The decision to exclude must be legal, reasonable and fair.