This is the second of a 2-Part blog post on Exclusions and looks at Permanent Exclusions (“PEx”). The first post on Fixed Term Exclusions (“FTE”) can be found here.
In the most recent statistics available from the Dpartment for Education ("DfE") a total of 2097 children received a PEx in Autumn 2021, which is equivalent to a rate of 0.03%. As with FTEs, a PEx can only be related to a breach of behaviour policy, and whilst the most frequently cited reason was persistent disruptive behaviour (accounting for 31% of PExs in 2021-22), it can result from a single incident if deemed sufficiently serious.
All children who have been given a PEx are entitled to challenge that decision by way of a review meeting with the school governors, which meeting should take place within 15 days of the exclusion. If that meeting does not result in overturning the PEx an appeal can be made to an Independent Review Panel (“IRP”) whose role it is to scrutinise the governors’ decision to uphold the PEx. The IRP should convene a hearing within 15 days of being asked to do so, and Parents can make representations, both in advance (in writing) and on the day, as to why the PEx should be overturned. Whilst the hearing is not a formal court hearing the panel must follow the principles of procedural fairness.
Following an IRP the panel may decide to (1) uphold the PEx (2) recommend reconsideration fo the PEx or (3) direct reconsideration of the PEx. None of these outcomes actually require a school to re-instate a pupil following a PEx, but it is rare for them not to do so if they are directed to reconsider a PEx, and failure to re-instate in such circumstances may leave a school at risk of Judicial Review.
In addition, where the PEx is related to a child’s disability it may be possible to bring a claim for disability discrimination under the Equality Act 2010.
If you are concerned about an exclusion SEND Advocacy can provide advice and support including making representations on your child's behalf before the Governors and/or IRP and pursuing a Disability Discrimination claim. If you need someone in your corner to help you secure the education your child or young person deserves, contact us today.