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New arrangements for school exclusion came into force in September 2012. These apply to any pupil excluded on or after 1 September 2012 from a maintained school, academy school / Free School, alternative provision academy / Free School or pupil referral unit in England.
Revised regulations and guidance for those with legal responsibilities in relation to exclusion have been issued.
The process for challenging a school’s decision to permanently exclude a pupil has changed. The old system of independent appeal panels has been replaced by independent review panels.
Where requested by a parent, an SEN expert needs to be appointed by the local authority or academy trust to advise the independent review panel.
The independent review panel can uphold the decision to permanently exclude a pupil; recommend that the governing body reconsider its decision; or direct the governing body to reconsider its decision. A direction to reconsider is limited to circumstances where a panel decides that the school has acted illegally, irrationally or where there are significant flaws in procedure.
Where a governing body decides not to offer to reinstate a pupil following a direction from a panel to reconsider its decision, the panel is expected to require an adjustment to a schools budget or payment of £4000 towards the cost of alternative provision.
Where a parent alleges discrimination (under the Equality Act 2010) in relation to a fixed period or permanent exclusion, they are able to make a claim to the First-tier Tribunal (for disability discrimination) or a County Court (for other forms of discrimination).
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These regulations apply to exclusions of pupils from maintained schools, pupil referral units, academy schools and alternative provision academies, in England, from 1 September 2012.
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This version of the guidance (published June 2012) makes a change to the previous version (published April 2012) to clarify that permanent exclusion may be warranted on the basis of a single serious breach of a school’s behaviour policy (see paragraph 15).
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