Leader magazineASCL - Association of School and College Leaders

Update on exclusions

Earlier ASCL guidance on the regulations following the 2006 Education and Inspections Act incorrectly suggested that the responsibility for the education of excluded pupils after 15 days continued to revert to the local authority, as under previous legislation.

In fact the latest act removed all responsibility from local authorities, except for permanent exclusions and for pupils excluded for a fixed term from PRUs. Schools are responsible for the education of all other excluded pupils from the sixth day.

The practical consequences of this are as follows. If the local authority has - as expected by the DCSF - delegated to Education Improvement Partnerships the funds, including salaries, previously employed for this purpose, the partnership should be making the necessary provision collectively.

This may include purchasing places at PRUs or other education providers and providing support that will promote effective managed moves. A 'managed move' in this context means proper additional support to enable the child and school to make a success of the change of school. If the local authority has devolved little or nothing, the school may attempt to provide education but it may be better to make a choice between an exclusion within the five days or to exclude permanently. The option of exclusion while investigating the best means of supporting a young person, or while effective provision is made for a managed return, has been severely compromised by the changes to regulations.

Using permanent exclusions where a long-fixed term exclusion might previously have been adopted increases the possibility that a permanent exclusion may be overturned by an independent appeals panel.

However, schools should remember that the law states that the terms of any return are the decision of the head alone and may include the almost complete segregation of the student from the life of the school. This will be the more acceptable route when there is actual, or threatened, action by trade unions in protection of their members.

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