Types of Exclusion
The Head Teacher has the legal power to exclude your child from school on disciplinary grounds. He or she must tell you why your child is being excluded and for how long.
Parents/carers must ensure that their child is not in a public place during school hours for the first 5 days of an exclusion on penalty of a fine.
There are 2 types of exclusion:
A fixed term (or fixed period) exclusion
This is used to remove a pupil from the school premises as above for a temporary period and can be for half a day, lunch time(s) or longer. Lunch time exclusions count as a half day exclusion and should be for the shortest period possible - the arrangements for lunch time exclusions should therefore be reviewed regularly with parents/carers. Free School Meal entitlement must be honoured.
Schools must provide full time education for pupils from the 6th day of any fixed term exclusion (day 1 for a child in care), the School's Governing Body must review cases where a pupil has had 15 days (or more) fixed term exclusions in any 1 term. A Head Teacher cannot fixed term exclude a pupil for more than 45 days in one academic year - at this point a decision must be made about whether to permanently exclude the pupil.
Parents/carers can make representations to the School Governors if they feel the fixed term exclusion imposed is inappropriate (please see the leaflet "Exclusion from School, Information for Parents and Carers" for additional information).
Schools should work with parents/carers to complete a Common Assessment Framework (CAF) for any pupil who has 3 or more fixed term exclusions in any one term. This will help to identify further support for the pupil and is a strategy designed to help to prevent a permanent exclusion.
This is used to remove a pupil permanently from the school roll. This means that a pupil may not return to the school and is therefore used for the most serious offences (please refer to the Behaviour Policy of the school your child attends for more information).
Exclusion is a last resort and is a response to a serious breach of school discipline. Parents/Carers can put their case to the Governors' Discipline Committee. If the Governors uphold a permanent exclusion (expulsion), parents/carers have the right to appeal to an independent appeal panel.
A Head Teacher will often impose a 5 day fixed term exclusion if they are considering a permanent exclusion. This step is taken to ensure that thorough investigations are carried out. The correspondence you receive from the school should make this clear to you.
Managed transfers (also known as managed moves)
On occasion, a family may be offered a "Managed Transfer" when a pupil is at risk of permanent exclusion. This provides a move to another school, offering a 'fresh start' without a permanent exclusion being recorded on the pupil's record. There are strict procedures in Sandwell that have to be followed before a Managed Transfer can be agreed:
- such a move cannot be requested by a school without the full consent of parents/carer;
- the original school must be able to demonstrate that a range of strategies have already been put into place to resolve issues and must then gain consent from members of their "Fair Access, Behaviour and Attendance Partnership" for the managed transfer to take place.
These partnerships are made up of Head Teachers/senior staff from local schools and academies. Members use their knowledge and expertise to determine the best course of action for the education placement of young people brought to their attention (this includes all permanently excluded pupils).
Please note that a request for a Managed Transfer for pupils in KS4 (Year 10 or 11) is unlikely to be approved because of the difficulties in matching options and examination boards. In such circumstances, partnerships are likely to suggest that schools and families work together to resolve issues. This frequently involves investigating off-site alternative, work-related curriculum for all or part of the pupil's timetable for the remainder of their compulsory education.
In addition, managed transfers are not permitted when a pupil is undergoing Statutory Assessment for a Statement of Special Education Needs (or when a request for Statutory Assessment has been made). The education placement of a pupil who is issued with a Statement will be specified in the Statement. A managed transfer request can be submitted at the end of this process if a Statement is not issued. This measure is taken to ensure that a pupil does not have multiple school moves. It also allows the final decision to take account of any information that becomes available a result of reports that are generated for these procedures.
"Back door" exclusions
"Back door" exclusion is a term that has developed to describe situations where a family feels under pressure to withdraw their son/daughter from their school or find an alternative school placement if they are at risk of permanent exclusion. There is no legal definition of the term, but such practices are not acceptable. Families should contact the Local Authority for advice should they find themselves in this situation - the Exclusions Team on telephone number: 0121 569 8467. The Local Authority will challenge any school or academy when suspected "back door" exclusions are drawn to its attention.
Other illegal exclusions:
Schools can no longer send a pupil home to "cool off" - this practice became illegal when the Statutory Guidance on exclusions was updated in September 2008. Families should contact the Local Authority for advice should they find themselves in this situation - the Exclusions Team on telephone number: 0121 569 8467. The Local Authority will challenge any school or academy when an illegal exclusion is drawn to its attention.
Procedures for a disciplinary committee meeting
It is recommended that the disciplinary committee organise a meeting between the 6th and 15th day following parents/carers notification by the Head Teacher of the exclusion. They should try and organise the meeting so that it is convenient to all parties. If parents cannot negotiate a convenient time within 15 days, then the Governing Body must arrange the "earliest possible convenient date" for the hearing.
Parents/Carers you should receive any papers regarding the exclusion at least 5 days before the meeting and should be notified of their right of access to their child's school record. They will be invited to state their case and to forward a written statement in advance of the meeting where applicable. Parents/carers can take a representative with them to this meeting - this could be a friend, relative, a representative from a Community/Voluntary Service or a representative who is supporting the family.
The procedure for the meeting should be as follows:
- Chair should welcome and introduce everyone the outline, the purpose of the meeting and the procedures to be followed. The Chair should also explain how the decision will be reached.
- Chair invites Head Teacher to speak.
- Parents/Carers have an opportunity to question the Head Teacher.
- Governors (and Local Authority Officer) have an opportunity to question the Head Teacher.
- Chair invites family to speak.
- Head Teacher has an opportunity to question the family.
- Governors (and Local Authority Officer) have an opportunity to question the family.
- Opportunity for final comments from the Head Teacher.
- Opportunity for final comments from the family.
- Family, Head Teacher and Local Authority Officer are then required to leave the meeting to enable the Governors discuss and reach a decision.
- The Governors may invite the family, Head Teacher and Local Authority Officer to re-enter the room once a decision has been made to share their decision with everyone.
- The Chair must advise the Head Teacher and the parents that they will be notified in writing of the decision within 1 working day of the meeting.
- The Chair can invite the Local Authority Officer to advise the parent/carer on alternative school provision.