Exclusion from school

The Independent Review Panel

The Independent Review Panel will review a Discipline Committee’s decision not to reinstate a permanently excluded pupil.

It can:

  • uphold the original decision of the governing body
  • recommend that the governing body reconsiders its original decision
  • quash the governing body’s original decision and direct it to reconsider this decision. The governing body should then meet to reconsider its decision within 10 school days

It cannot order a Discipline Committee to reinstate an excluded pupil.

An Independent Review Panel is a panel made up of usually 3 members:

  • a lay member who will chair the panel. They will not have worked in a school in any paid capacity
  • a school governor who has served as a school governor for at least 12 consecutive months in the last 5 years, provided that they have not been a teacher or headteacher during this time
  • a headteacher, or someone who has been a headteacher within the last 5 years

An Independent Review Panel will be clerked by a solicitor who will ensure that it avoids bias or any appearance of bias.

The panel may only quash the governing body’s decision if it considers that this decision was flawed. The governing body’s decision would be considered to be flawed if it was judged in the light of the principles applicable on an application for judicial review to be:

  • illegal
  • irrational
  • subject to procedural impropriety

Procedural impropriety means not simply a breach of minor points of procedure but something that has a significant impact on the decision-making process.

SEN Adviser

You have a right to request the attendance of a Special Educational Needs (SEN) expert regardless of whether the school / academy believes that the child has SEN.

The role of the SEN expert is to offer advice and information, and act as an expert witness, providing impartial advice to the Independent Review Panel about how SEN could be relevant to the exclusion, for example, whether the school / academy acted reasonably in relation to its legal duties when excluding the pupil.

Whether or not the school / academy recognises that the pupil has SEN, the expert’s advice will focus on whether the school’s / academy’s policies on SEN, or the application of these policies, were reasonable and procedurally fair.

If the SEN expert believes that this was not the case, they may advise the panel on the contribution which this could have made to the pupil’s exclusion.

The SEN expert's role does not include making an assessment of the pupil's SEN.