Dealing with an appeal against your child’s exclusion from school can be an incredibly stressful experience, especially when your main concern is ensuring your child receives their education and is not missing out on vital learning opportunities. At Cartwright King we have a team of Education Lawyers who can assist with School Exclusion Appeals and represent parents at hearings across the country. Exclusion appeals should follow a specific procedure and there are usually time limits imposed. If you are considering appealing against your child’s exclusion, it is in your best interest to seek legal advice and if necessary, to instruct a specialist lawyer to act on your behalf.
Interview advice and initial telephone consultation
Everyone is entitled to seek advice if they need help with an appeal of this kind. Our experienced education lawyers are available to help you and make sure your position is protected and that your appeal is properly presented. The team can take the worry off your hands.
We will happily provide an initial telephone consultation to explain how we can help and if you are happy to proceed with our services,we will discuss our estimated fees with you. Please feel free to contact us for a no obligation quote on 0808 168 5550 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
What is a School Exclusion?
A child can be excluded from school either for a fixed period (temporarily) or permanently.
Fixed Period Exclusion:
This is where a child is removed from school for a specified fixed period of time, for example half a day or ten days.
A child can be subject to a number of fixed period exclusions up to a maximum of 45 days in one academic year. In certain circumstances the governing board must review the exclusion. In others, parents can request a meeting or make written representations to be considered.
A fixed period exclusion cannot be extended or converted to a permanent exclusion – but in exception circumstances an additional fixed period or permanent exclusion could be issued at the end of the initial fixed period.
Permanent exclusion should be used only as a last resort and means the child will not return to that school. It should only be used in cases where there has been a serious breach or persistent breaches of the school’s behaviour policy and where the education or welfare of other pupils in the school would be harmed if the child remained. The governing board must review the exclusion and have the power to reinstate the pupil.
Exclusion Appeals and the Law
Most schools are required to adhere to the Department for Education (DfE) statutory guidance relating to school exclusions. A child may only be excluded from school on disciplinary grounds and the decision must be:
A child may be excluded for behaviour outside of school – the school’s behaviour policy will normally set out the type of behaviour expected by pupils both inside and outside of school.
The civil standard of proof is applied to decisions relating to the exclusion of pupils. This means that if it is more likely than not that something happened, the head teacher should accept that it happened.
Public Sector Equality Duty
The Equality Act 2010 prohibits schools from discriminating against, victimising or harassing pupils for any of the following reasons:
- Religion or Belief;
- Sexual Orientation;
- Pregnancy or Maternity;
- gender Reassignment
This includes when making exclusion decisions. If a child is disabled a school has a duty to make reasonable adjustments for them.
Children with Special Educational Needs (SEN)
Regard to the SEND Code of Practice must be had when exclusion decisions are made. All exclusions must be for disciplinary reasons only. Non-disciplinary reasons such as the school being unable to meet a child’s SEN would render the exclusion unlawful.
Likewise, informal or unofficial exclusions, for example asking a parent to collect a child to “cool off” are unlawful and should instead be recorded as a formal exclusion for the appropriate period.
If you believe that your child’s exclusion is not solely based on disciplinary grounds, we can help you to not only appeal the exclusion, but to address any underlying issues with the school.
Independent Review Panel (IRP)
If requested by the parents of a permanently excluded child, an IRP must be convened to review the decision of the governing board not to reinstate the pupil. The IRP itself cannot reinstate a pupil, but can recommend or direct that the governing board reconsider their decision.
There are strict time limits for requesting an IRP so it is important to take advice at the earliest opportunity. How we can help If you need help appealing a school’s decision to exclude your child we can assist you with preparation of the paperwork, represent you at the governing board’s review and represent you at the IRP.
Exclusion Package A- from £500 plus VAT
Review the paperwork relating to the exclusion and draft written representations for the appeal (this does not include representation at any hearings).
Exclusion Package B- from £500 plus VAT*
Representation at the review by the governing board (this does not include package A - preparation of the paperwork).
Exclusion Package C- from £1,000 plus VAT*
Representation at the Independent Review Panel (this does not include package A - preparation of the paperwork or package B - representation at the governor's review).
*Travel to and from each hearing will be charged at the reduced rate of £100 plus VAT per hour (in 15 minute increments) with an additional 45p per mile for journeys by car or reasonable public transport fares. We will always agree travel fees with you in advance once all the relevant information is known.
*Unavoidable waiting time will be charged at the reduced rate of £100 plus VAT per hour (in 15 minute increments).
Why Choose Us?
We provide legal advice and assistance to help parents navigate law and procedure relating to education. We can help you present the strongest case to secure the best chances of a successful exclusion appeal. We have lawyers who can assist wherever you are based and who can also assist with SEN issues, school admissions appeals and other areas of education law. We’re here to take the worry off your hands but it is important that you get in contact as soon as possible so there is sufficient time to prepare your case.
How to make contact
At Cartwright King we have offices across the country. We can assist wherever you are based but we also have offices in Birmingham, Bedford, Derby, Leeds, Leicester, London Temple, Manchester, Middlesbrough, Northampton, Nottingham and Sheffield.