A new report finds schools are acting illegally during the exclusion process & calls for the IRP Process to be scrapped
The Communities Empowerment Network has today released its report on the schools
exclusion process in the UK.
Entitled “Mapping the Exclusion Process: Inequality, Justice and the Business of Education”
the report concludes that the Independent Review Panel Process (IPR) for determining
whether a child should be permanently excluded from school should be scrapped.
The report found that:
1. A significant number of schools are employing illegal and discriminatory practices
during a pupil’s exclusion process. Governing bodies are failing to scrutinise head
teachers’ decisions to permanently exclude pupils. They are rubber-stamping head-
teachers’ decisions to permanently exclude pupils, thus allowing unacceptable
numbers of unlawful exclusions to take place. Even though these practices
contravene the statutory guidance on exclusions issued by the Department of
Education and are illegal under judicial review principles, schools face absolutely no
2. The shift to the Independent Review Panel (IRP) format in September 2012 means
panels can now only quash or direct the governing body to reconsider their decision;
they can no longer direct the reinstatement of pupils. As there are no sanctions for
not following the DfE Exclusions Guidance, schools, who are under pressure to
produce results and do not have time, resources or the expertise of specialised staff
are operating in an unscrupulous manner when they remove 'problem' pupils .
3. Special Education Needs, ethnicity, and class grouping continue to impact negatively
on exclusion. Parents reported racism and class-based discrimination in their child's
educational institutions. This is not being addressed through the statutory guidance
or being scrutinised by the DfE or OFSTED. Some schools are therefore operating
without compunction as they disregard their statutory duties. Neither the DfE nor
OFSTED is ensuring that schools obey the law by having arrangements in place for
meeting the Public Sector Equality Duty of the Equality Act 2010.
4. Academies and Free Schools are excluding at an alarmingly higher rate. (In
2012/2013 18,763 maintained schools excluded 2,700 pupils, while 2,390 Academies
excluded 1,930 pupils). Even when a Review Panel has recommended or directed the
school governors to reconsider their decision to exclude a pupil, virtually no
Academies or Free Schools have, so far, reinstated a pupil.
5. Once excluded, far too many pupils are receiving an inferior education, comprised of
reduced hours and limited timetables, in contravention of their human rights. They
are therefore punished twice. The small number of pupils who are reinstated receive
no appropriate compensation for the learning time they have missed and are very
rarely welcomed and reintegrated as a full member of the school community.