The Department for Education (DfE) has produced Exclusion Guidance which outlines the procedures for all fixed period and permanent exclusions. It applies to all maintained, academy and free schools plus alternative provision academies and pupil referral units and was applicable from 1 September 2017.
On 1st June 2020 the DfE amended advice on the timescales for governors and IRP meetings which are relevant to all exclusions between 1 June – 24 September 2020. The relevant changes have been incorporated in the standard letters highlighted below.
Legislation governing the exclusion process remains unchanged. However, the 2017 guidance clarifies key points and removes some doubts that were potentially open to interpretation. It also includes additional annexes for head teachers and parents which provides relevant core information to all parties.
Key clarifications relate to:
• exclusions – extensions and conversions
• civil standard of proof
• cumulative and consecutive exclusions
• local authority’s duty to arrange education
• governing board’s duty to consider reinstatement following head teacher’s decision to exclude
• governing board’s duty to reconsider reinstatement following independent review panel (IRP)
• budget adjustment
• the role of the IRP
• IRP considering evidence
Schools may also find the following DCC document useful in clarifying legal advice associated with pupils with Exclusion and Pupils with SEND.
1. Permanent exclusion
There are two key aspects to notifying the local authority of a permanent exclusion. On the first day of the permanent exclusion, all schools (regardless of which school management information system is used) will need to:
• Telephone the Inclusion Team tel: 01629 535802 to inform the local authority of the start date of the exclusion, reason for exclusion, confirm parental contact details, and confirm deadlines/timescales for governing board meetings.
• Add the exclusion details on your school management information system (MIS) and complete the Permanent exclusion notification spreadsheet and send to the Inclusion Team.
By contacting the Inclusion Team on the first day it has the additional benefit of ensuring that schools are clear of the DfE exclusion guidance and processes from the outset and facilitates the Inclusion Pathways Team (IPT) being able to provide fulltime education by the sixth day of the head teacher’s decision to exclude.
Please note that it is important to contact the Inclusion Team direct if a permanent exclusion is either withdrawn (retracted) by the head teacher or the governing board has reinstated the pupil. The Inclusion Team can advise school both on exclusion processes and recording on your school MIS.
2. Fixed term exclusion
All fixed term exclusions need inputting into the school management information system (MIS) on a weekly basis, to fulfil DfE requirements (exclusions over five days) and to enable key agencies to be alerted. Schools will need to refer to their specific MIS handbooks/service provider for advice on recording exclusions on their school systems.
The local authority has devised the attached fixed term exclusion template which needs to be completed and returned to the Inclusion Team direct. Guidance notes entitled fixed term exclusion template instructions have been produced to assist with schools completion of the spreadsheet and to ensure that it can be imported into local authority systems.
RM Integris schools
Schools who use the RM Integris MIS should record exclusion details via the behaviour module. Guidance to input Exclusion data on RM Integris is available on S4S. Please note you must be logged into access the documents. If information is entered correctly and as soon as the exclusion occurs, the data is automatically collected by the LA. RM Integris schools do not need to send a separate report for fixed term exclusions, and only advise the Inclusion Team for a permanent exclusion (as above). Please be aware that new RM Integris schools will need to have an agreed data sharing agreement between school and the local authority in order for the data to import.
Exclusion recording and attendance codes
Full exclusion data (including start/end date (where relevant), reasons, and length of exclusion) need to be entered regularly into school MIS. The attendance details will also need to reflect the pupil’s exclusion status i.e. attendance code ‘E'. Please note it is not sufficient to only enter the attendance code ‘E’ as it does not provide the local authority with enough specific exclusion details to meet DfE requirements.
General exclusion guidance/policy queries:
Sharon Neak Inclusion Team, Access & Inclusion
Tel: 01629 535802.
RM Integris Software queries:
School Training and Support Team
Tel: 01629 536789.