If you want to challenge the exclusion of your child you need to use the formal exclusion review process. Schools must inform parents about the process for challenging an exclusion when their child is excluded and again where a governing body upholds a permanent exclusion.
The details of the exclusion review process are set out in the Government’s statutory exclusion guidance. You can get free and impartial advice on exclusion from the Coram Children's Legal Centre.
If you have exhausted the exclusion review process and are unhappy about the outcome, or the way in which the process was handled, there are specific routes of complaint available to you.
If your child has been permanently excluded and you believe that the independent review panel process was handled unfairly you can make a complaint of maladministration.
Complaints of maladministration against review panels arranged by a local authority should be made to the Local Government Ombudsman (LGO). Details of how to make a complaint can be found on their website.
Complaints of maladministration against review panels arranged by an Academy should be made to the Education Funding Agency (EFA).
A complaint to the EFA can be made using the online school complaints form or by writing to:
The Department for Education
Great Smith Street
When making a complaint of maladministration you should explain why you believe the review process was unfair and include relevant supporting information, such as the review panel’s letter notifying you of the reasons for their decision.
The Department for Education does not interfere in the decisions of independent review panels. If you do not believe that maladministration has occurred but want to challenge the decision of a review panel you will need to seek a judicial review. Applications for a judicial review should be made within three months of the panel’s decision.
If your complaint relates to the wider actions of the school, for example if you accept that the exclusion was justified but feel that the process was badly handled, it should be raised through the school’s own complaints process. If you have exhausted the school’s complaints process or the review process for a fixed period exclusion and remain dissatisfied you can forward your complaint to the Department for Education. Guidance on making a complaint about a school can be found in the associated resources.
If you have a complaint about the education that has been arranged for an excluded pupil you should contact the body responsible for arranging it. For permanent exclusions this would be the local authority and for fixed period exclusions that are longer than five days this would be the school.
If no provision has been arranged you should still contact the responsible body but you can also contact the Department who will look into your complaint.
Further information on the education that must be arranged for excluded pupils is available on the Department's website.
This is statutory guidance relating to school exclusions which applied to schools and local authorities from September 2012.
Information on how to complain about a school.
Information for governing body’s and local authority’s on their duties to arrange for education for excluded pupils.
Coram Children’s Legal Centre - a free and confidential legal advice and information service covering all aspects of law and policy affecting children and young people.