A permanent exclusion is very serious and means your child is not allowed back in the school.
The school and local authority have to make sure the exclusion is fair.
The headteacher must tell you, the governing body and the local authority as soon as it happens.
The school should take reasonable steps (do their best) to set your child work and mark it during the first 5 days of the exclusion. But you might need to collect and return the work if it is not set online.
From the sixth day of the exclusion the local authority must make sure your child has full time education. (Full time education is not specified but it usually means 25 hours or more.)
The governors must meet within 15 school days to talk about a permanent exclusion. The governors will decide if your child can go back to school. This means that your child will not be allowed back into the school before the meeting.
A decision to exclude a learner permanently should normally be used as a last resort.
In exceptional circumstances the Head Teacher can permanently exclude a learner for a first or one-off offence.
These might include:
- serious actual or threatened violence against another learner or a member of staff
- sexual abuse or assault
- supplying an illegal drug
- use or threatened use of an offensive weapon.
Exclusion should not be imposed in the heat of the moment, unless there is an immediate threat to the safety of others in the school or the learner concerned.
Before deciding whether to exclude a learner, either permanently or for a fixed-term, the headteacher should:
- Ensure that an appropriate investigation has been carried out
- Consider all the evidence available to support the allegations. (The more serious the allegation and thus the possible sanction, the more convincing the evidence substantiating the allegation needs to be.)
- Take account of the school’s behaviour and equal opportunities policies, and, where applicable, the Equality Act 2010
- Allow the learner to give his or her version of events
- Check whether the incident may have been provoked, e.g. by bullying or by racial or sexual harassment
- If necessary consult others, but not anyone who may later have a role in reviewing the headteacher’s decision, e.g. a member of the discipline committee
- Keep a written record of the incident and actions taken
What you can do
You have a right to put your concerns about your child’s exclusion from school, in person. You should write to the school explaining that you want to make representation to the governors at the Pupil Disciplinary meeting
You also have the right to ask to see:
- the school’s behaviour and discipline policy
- the school’s special educational needs policy
- the school’s equal opportunities policy
- your child’s school record
- your child’s statement or education health care plan
- any witness statements relating to the incident leading to the exclusion
Go through the copy of the headteacher’s report to the governors with your child. Ask for their views.
Disciplinary committee meeting
The school governors, headteacher and you as parents, parent or carer will meet at a governors disciplinary committee meeting. You have the right to attend and should be invited by the school. You can take somebody with you for support. SNAP Cymru can help you prepare and sometimes with sufficient notice can attend with you.
The governors are the only people who can make a decision on whether to uphold the decision to exclude your child, which means your child, will not be allowed back into the school before the governors hearing.
Governors can overturn the headteacher’s exclusion, which means your child will be able to return to the school.
You may be told what decision has been made at the meeting or receive the decision in writing within one day.
Independent Appeal Panels
If the decision is made to uphold the exclusion at the Discipline Committee, then the local authority will be in touch with you and a meeting will be held to discuss the options for your child’s education.
If you do not agree with the governors’ decision, you can request the local authority to arrange an Independent Appeal Panel. You have within 15 school days to decide if you want to do this. this panel is independent and will not be held at the school. The following are entitled to attend a hearing and present their case, either in writing or orally, and to be represented:
• the parent/carer and learner
• the headteacher (where an excluding headteacher has left the school, the appeal panel may use its discretion in deciding whether to invite them to make representations)
• a nominated governor
• a nominated LA officer.
All the above parties, as well as the governing body, may be represented by a legal or other representative.
Parents/carers have a right to an independent appeal panel hearing even if they did not make a case to, or attend, the discipline committee. The panel should consider the basis of the headteacher’s decision and the procedures followed having regard to whether the headteacher and discipline committee complied with the law and had regard to the Welsh Government guidance on exclusion
An appeal panel may:
• uphold the decision to exclude
• overturn the decision to exclude and direct reinstatement
• decide that because of exceptional circumstances or other reasons it is not practical to direct reinstatement, but that it would otherwise have been appropriate to give such a direction.
the panel decision is binding on the parent/carer and/or learner, the governing body, the headteacher and the LA. The panel decision cannot be revisited its decision once made.
If you require further information or practical support to prepare for a Discipline Committee or Independent appeal call our helpline on 0808 801 0608 or book an appointment to speak to an advisor.