Leader magazineASCL - Association of School and College Leaders

New guidelines on exclusions

The new guidance from the DfES on exclusions is now out and applies to all school pupils. Colleges, of course, operate their own internal procedures even though in some cases they are dealing with young people from the same age group. This is interim guidance pending a major revision for September 2007.

With the new guidance, there is now mandatory training for members of, and clerks to, independent appeal panels (IAPs).

Although the governors are the respondents at an exclusion appeal to an IAP, the head can be legally represented as well (though the DfES expects the head and governors to be represented jointly).

There is stronger guidance on unofficial exclusions and clarification on parallel criminal proceedings and 'non exclusions' (removing pupils from school in exceptional circumstances). The text on excluding disabled pupils also has been revised.

Reporting on exclusions is to be done at the notional end of the traditional three terms. However, for the purpose of 'totting up' exclusions, 'a term' refers to the school's system, whether it is a three or six-term year. This means that a pupil in a three-term year school has roughly double the chance of appearing before governors than one in a six-term year school.

There is also a standard 'reasons for exclusion' list which local authorities have to use in reporting to the DfES. There may be some merit in consulting this list when writing exclusion letters to parents.

Members are advised to get a copy of the full guidance at www.teachernet.gov.uk/wholeschool/behaviour/exclusion/guidance

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