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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

meaningful sanctions. 

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.

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