Governors Disciplinary Pane

  • Advice on Appeal to Governors Disciplinary Committee and/or alternatives to exclusion ; e.g. managed moves , education off site
  • Support at visits and interviews at alternative placements  and liaison with “excluding school “ and LA
  • Specific consideration of identified and unidentified Special Educational Needs and Disability or Racial Discrimination.
  • Preparation of paperwork, representations and statements for the Governors Disciplinary Hearing. Advice on witnesses.
  • Representation at the Hearing
  • Advice on next stage appeal to Independent Appeal Panel

 

THE GOVERNING BODY and EXCLUSIONS

The role of the Governing Body is to review exclusions imposed by the Head Teacher. The Governing Body cannot increase the length of exclusion: e.g. by extending a fixed period exclusion or by changing fixed term exclusion to a permanent exclusion.

The Governing Body can only do 2 things: uphold exclusion or direct the pupil’s reinstatement, either immediately or by a particular date.

The Governing Body should consider any representations about any length exclusion if these are submitted by the parent. For exclusions of less than 5 days total in one term the Governors do not HAVE to meet unless the pupil would miss a public exam

The Governing body must review:

  •  Any exclusion which would mean the pupil missing a public examination. If it is not possible for the committee to meet before the exam , the Chair can, as an emergency , consider the exclusion and decide whether or not to reinstate the pupil
  • Exclusions between 5 and 15 days in any one term AND convene a meeting ONLY IF the parent requests a meeting. The meeting must be held between the 6th and 50th school day after the exclusion notice
  • Exclusions of more than 15 days in any one term and Permanent Exclusions AND convene a meeting between the 6th and 15th school day after the exclusion notice

If there is a meeting the Governors MUST invite the parent (or the pupil if aged 18 or over), head teacher and an LA officer to the meeting at a time and place convenient to all parties

The Governors SHOULD ask for any written statements (including witness statements) in advance of the meeting;

The Governors SHOULD circulate, at least five days before the meeting, any written statements (including witness statements) and a list of those who will be present at the meeting to all parties.

 

PROCEDURE AT THE GOVERNING BODY MEETING

The parents, pupil, Head teacher and LA are invited to the Governors meeting. The Head teacher and the parents can call witnesses if they wish 

Meetings generally take place at the school. You will be greeted by the Clerk and only enter the meeting room once everyone has arrived. There are usually  3 Governors on the appeal Panel

In general, meetings take the following form:

  • Panel introduce themselves.
  • Head Teacher puts his/her case and calls his /her witnesses. Panel and Parents can ask questions
  • Parents / Pupil and /or their representative put their case and call any witnesses. Panel and school can ask questions
  • LA make a statement on how other schools/the LA may have dealt with similar situations and on the exclusion process
  • Each party can sum up with a final statement
  • Panel withdraw to make their decision
  • Decision may be delivered on the day or within 1school day of the Hearing.

The Governors have to consider whether on the balance of probabilities the pupil did what he was accused of and whether the Head teacher followed the law and Guidance on exclusions

They do not have to apply the criminal standard of proof; i.e. beyond reasonable doubt. They are allowed to take into account pupils past behaviour if this is relevant

No party to the review should be alone with the governors at any point before, during or after the meeting.

The parents and pupils can send in any written statements and witness statements. These should be received in good time before the Hearing so that they can be circulated in advance

The governing body should allow and encourage the excluded pupil to attend the meeting and speak, subject to their age and understanding.

A pupil aged 18 or over has the right to attend and to make representations in their own right

 The governing body should allow the parent to be accompanied by a friend or legal representative at their request.

The parent and their representative will have the opportunity to state their case in writing before the exclusion and in person at the Hearing, introduce witnesses, question the Head teacher, her witnesses and the LA representative and sum up at the end of the Hearing  

 LA ROLE:

The LA is not required to send a representative to all exclusion meetings in its area. The LA should send a representative to all permanent exclusion meetings and to longer fixed period exclusion meetings if possible.

The LA’s role at the meeting is not to give its view on the merits of the particular exclusion.

 The LA can make a statement to the governing body/management committee in general terms, for example about how other schools in the area (and the LA itself, if applicable) have dealt with similar incidents.

The LA representative should also draw attention to issues where there is a lack of clarity or where more information may be needed or where guidance appears to have been ignored.

The governing body/management committee may ask the LA officer for advice.

 

HEAD TEACHERS ROLE:

The Head teacher should submit written evidence in good time so that it can be circulated before the Hearing

The head teacher should attend the meeting to clarify points and answer any questions relating to the incident or events leading to the exclusion.

GOVERNORS DECISION:

The Governors Disciplinary Committee should make its decision alone, asking the other parties, including the LA officer, to withdraw.

The clerk may stay with the governing body/management committee to help it by reference to the notes and with the wording of the decision letter.

There are only two decisions open to the governing body/management committee – to uphold the exclusion or to direct the pupil’s reinstatement, either immediately or by a particular date. It may not decide that reinstatement is appropriate but it is not practical to direct this because of exceptional circumstances.

To reach its decision the governing body should consider:

A. any representations made by the parent, the pupil and the LA;

B. whether on a balance of probabilities the pupil did what he or she is alleged to have done; and

C. whether the head teacher/teacher in charge has complied with the law on exclusion and has had regard to the guidance on exclusion.

If the governing body cannot direct reinstatement because the period of exclusion has expired and the pupil has returned to school, they should put a note on his or her school record with their findings.

LETTER UPHOLDING A PERMANENT EXCLUSION

 Where the governing body decides to uphold a permanent exclusion, its letter to the parent (or pupil if aged 18 or over) should also include the following information:

a) The reason for the decision;

b) Their right to appeal to an Independent Appeal Panel, together with the name and address of the person to whom any notice of appeal should be sent

c) The date by which any notice of appeal should be lodged (15 school days after the day on which notice in writing was given of the governing body’s decision.

d) That any notice of appeal must set out the grounds for appeal;

e) That any claim on grounds of disability discrimination should also be set out in the notice of appeal.

AFTER THE MEETING

A copy of the governing body’s decision letter should normally be placed on the pupil’s school record with copies of relevant papers.

Exclusions can only be expunged from the pupil’s school record through direction from the courts or rectification of personal data.