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Pupil exclusion from school

The Education Access Team fulfils the Local Authority’s (LA), statutory and strategic responsibilities to provide education for vulnerable pupils of compulsory school age by co-ordinating educational provisions and services for pupils who:

  • have been permanently excluded from school
  • cannot access school due to medical conditions
  • are being admitted to a new school under the Local Authority In Year Fair Access Protocol
  • are at risk of being permanently excluded

What exclusion from school means

There are two types of exclusion – fixed period and permanent.

  • a fixed period exclusion means an exclusion of anything totalling up to 45 school days in any one school year. After the exclusion period your child can return to school
  • a permanent exclusion is when your child will not be allowed to return to that school unless the headteacher’s decision is reversed

Whilst your child is excluded staff at the school will continue to set work and will advise you on this process.

It is important to bear in mind that you will be responsible for your child’s welfare during the time he or she would normally be in school. For the first five days of an exclusion you must make sure that your child is supervised and not in a public place during school hours, without good reason. Failure to comply with this could lead to prosecution.

Examinations could be affected. Whilst there is no automatic right for an excluded pupil to take an examination or test on the excluding school’s premises, the governing body may exercise discretion to allow an excluded pupil on the premises for the sole purpose of taking the examination or test.

Permanent exclusion from school

We have a statutory duty to provide education from the sixth school day of a permanent exclusion. The Education Access Team commissions places for permanently excluded pupils from The Bridge Short Stay School. The Bridge Short Stay School have centres in Ellesmere Port and Northwich.

Following a pupil being permanently excluded an Education Access Officer can advise school on procedure and make representation at the Governor Disciplinary Meeting and Independent Review meeting.

An Education Access Officer will contact parents/carers and discuss next steps in relation to the permanent exclusion informing them what will happen at the Governors Disciplinary Meeting and Independent Review. They will also advise what the educational offer will be for their child, both short term and for the future. An Education Outreach Officer will work with the excluded pupil to facilitate learning and reintegration into another school.

Support to pupils at risk of exclusion/permanent exclusion

The Education Access Team offers early intervention, outreach support on a 1:1 and group work basis to mainstream primary and secondary schools, as part of a wider multi agency support plan to pupils; through a needs led assessment for those who are vulnerable to the risk of permanent exclusion.

The work is centred around a trauma led approach and includes work around engagement in school and lessons, reduction of verbal and / or physical incidents of negative behaviour and promotion of safe behaviour for themselves and others. Each bespoke programme will emphasise and promote improvements in Emotional Intelligence (Self Awareness, Self-Regulation, Motivation, Empathy and Social Skills). It involves a clear planning - review and evaluation process led by an Education Access Officer. Schools refer in for this support.

In Year Fair Access Protocol

The Fair Access Protocol is protocol is in place to ensure that children, especially the most vulnerable, are offered a place at a suitable school as quickly as possible. It is a working partnership between the ourselves and schools aimed at keeping vulnerable children and young people in education and acknowledging that if they do need to move schools they do so in a transparent, supported, managed and equitable way. This includes admitting children above the published admission number to schools that are already full. A Fair Access Panel comprising of Head Teachers from local schools meet monthly to manage this protocol. The Education Access Team facilitates and manages these meetings that are chaired by a school representative as nominated by the panel members.

Your rights when your child has been excluded from school

You have the right to make written representations to the School Governing Body about any exclusion. If the exclusion is for more than five days in any one term and less than 15 days you can ask to attend a meeting of the School Governing Body when the exclusion will be considered.

If the exclusion is for more than 15 days in any one term then you will be invited to a meeting of the School Governing Body where the exclusion will be reviewed. The school will let you know the details. You can take a friend along to help you if you wish, you may provide written information to be circulated to the Governing Body, and you must be allowed to ask questions and say what you think about the exclusion. You may also wish your child to give his or her own side of the story to the Governing Body. You are entitled to receive a copy of any information circulated to the Governing Body by the school.

If the exclusion is for a fixed period of five days or less (including any previous exclusions earlier in the term) the Governing Body cannot direct the headteacher to re-admit your child before the end of the exclusion period. The Committee can, however, come to a view on whether or not the exclusion was appropriate.

For longer fixed period exclusions, the Governing Body will either allow your child back in school or agree with the headteacher’s decision. You must be told of the decision as soon as possible after the meeting and this should be confirmed by the school in writing. This settles the matter if the exclusion is a fixed period one. There is no further right of appeal.

If the exclusion is permanent, however, and the Governing Body decides to agree with the headteacher’s decision, the clerk to the meeting will write to inform you of the decision. You then have 15 school days to submit an appeal to an independent review panel. The excluding school will provide you with the address details of where to lodge your appeal.

If you do not appeal within 15 days the permanent exclusion will stand and cannot be changed.

Appeals against permanent exclusion – Independent Review Panel

The purpose of the appeal is normally to consider whether the exclusion is appropriate and whether the pupil should be reinstated. If you decide to appeal, you will have the opportunity to request an independent review panel. You may at your own expense, appoint someone to make written and/ or oral representations to the panel and you may also bring a friend to the review. You may also wish your child to tell his or her side of the story.

The Independent Review Panel will have three members, which will comprise of one serving or recently retired (within the last five years) head teacher, one serving or recently serving experienced governor/ management committee members and one lay member who will be the Chairman.

Regardless of whether your child has a recognised special educational need, you have the right to require the Local Authority / Academy Trust to appoint a special educational need (SEN) expert to attend the review. There is no cost to you for this appointment.

The SEN expert will provide impartial advice to the panel on how special educational needs might be relevant to the exclusion, whether the school’s policies or application of these policies were legal, reasonable and fair and whether the school acted in a legal, reasonable and procedurally fair way with respect to the identification of any special educational needs.

You must make clear if you wish for an SEN expert to be appointed in your written notice when requesting an independent review panel.

The panel will review the governing body’s decision not to reinstate a permanently excluded pupil. Following its review the panel can decide to: Uphold the exclusion decision, recommend that the governing body reconsiders their decision, or quash the decision and direct that the governing body considers the exclusion again. The Panel’s decision is binding and ends the process.

Getting your child back to school

Most pupils who are permanently excluded are subsequently admitted to another school. Your local authority will work with you to find a place for your child at another school and will support you and your child’s new school in seeking to reintegrate him or her successfully.

Exceptionally, for some pupils, it may be more appropriate for alternative educational provision to be arranged and this will be discussed with you.

Contact points for further advice

If you require any further information on exclusions, please use the following contact details:

  • By post: Education Access Team (Education Infrastructure, 3rd floor, Nicholas House) Cheshire West and Chester Council, 4 Civic Way, Ellesmere Port, CH65 0BE
  • Email: exclusions@cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk
  • Telephone: 01244 972825

The Children's Legal Centre

You may also find it useful to contact the Coram Children's Legal Centre. They aim to provide free legal advice and information to parents on state education matters. They can be contacted by calling 0300 3305485 or you can visit the Child Law Advice website. The advice line is open from 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday, except Bank Holidays and 24 December to the 1 January.

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