Leader magazineASCL - Association of School and College Leaders

Exclusions

Discipline processes in the independent sector have come under scrutiny in two recent cases, which may also have implications for maintained schools.

In the first, a parent attempted to stop the school from hearing the case for the exclusion of the child at all. The court refused to interfere. Once the school authorities had made a decision, it said, there might be a cause to consider, but not until.

The second, the Marlborough College case, in the end turned on whether the school had been justified in relying on the provision in its contract with parents instead of implementing the procedures for exclusion, which offered the pupil more protection.

The contract said that parents could be asked to remove their child from school if his or her conduct was unsatisfactory or the child was unable to take advantage of the education offered. The court decided that the school was justified.

In the maintained sector, a school has won its case against a SENDIST which declared the school in breach of the Disability Discrimination Act for the fixed-term exclusion of a pupil with ADHD.

The court took the view that what had to be decided was not only whether there were reasonable adjustments that could have been made, but whether these would in fact have altered the outcome: specifically, whether additional training for staff would have prevented the exclusion. The court concluded it would not.

If this case holds, then it is an important safeguard - though it is important that schools and colleges do continue to make reasonable adjustments for all children with disabilities.

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