Leader magazineASCL - Association of School and College Leaders

Exclusion update

Mixed report on exclusion appeals

Two recent cases have appeared on exclusions: one helpful; one not.

On the positive side, a judge has ruled that there was no obligation on the independent appeals panel (IAP) to draw to parents' attention that their cases might be heard together because they were involved in the same offence. Nor was there any duty on the IAP to hear the cases together.

A further issue in the same case was whether the panel should have explicitly instructed itself to be cautious of anonymised statements from children - the judge pointed out that some 13 statements suggested the pupil had a knife, only he said he had not. However, because of the diligence taken by the school, the balance of probabilities was that he had.

Less helpfully, in another incident a judge sent a case back for further consideration because the independent appeal panel failed to give adequate reasons for its decision. This case involved a pupil with Asperger's Syndrome who was permanently excluded after, among other things, assaulting a teacher.

The decision emphasises the point that when excluding pupils with disabilities, schools must ensure that their arguments make clear that they were aware of any disability and why no reasonable adjustment can be made. It is up to the school to give the IAP the arguments to use.

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