New Report - Challenging School Exclusions

Author: 
Justice

On 11th November 2019, JUSTICE launched its latest working party report, Challenging School Exclusions. The report calls for significant change to the current system, including better training for schools on excluding pupils, a new Independent Reviewer of individual exclusion decisions and the possibility of appealing to a judge-led tribunal.

This report examines the processes used to make and review a decision to exclude permanently a pupil in England and identifies serious weaknesses within the current system. The Working Party found that schools have inconsistent understanding of their Equality Act duties, that the governors’ board review is ineffective and lacks independence, and that Independent Review Panels do not have adequate powers to reinstate or order alternatives for the pupil, even if the exclusion was unlawful.

The number of permanent and fixed term exclusions in England has risen year on year since 2012, with a rate of permanent exclusions which far outstrips that of Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland. The effects of exclusion are concerningly inconsistent, disproportionally affecting children with special educational needs and disability as well as those from minority groups. Any exclusion interferes with a child’s right to an education and permanent exclusions in particular can have far-reaching and serious consequences for a child’s future.