The Governors' role in exclusions

Governors have a statutory duty to review certain pupil exclusions and consider parents' representations.  Although the governing body may delegate their functions in relation to exclusion to a designated sub-committee consisting of at least three governors, all governors may be called upon to undertake this task.  It is vital that this process is administered correctly and in line with the law.

Governors' role around pupil behaviour is to set policy and a framework within which the school should operate. If governors have been involved in a direct intervention with a pupil they cannot be called upon to review a fixed or permanent exclusion for the same pupil.

DfE document: "Exclusion from maintained schools, academies and pupil referral units in England" explains the law and guidance on exclusion from schools.   Governing Bodies have a statutory obligation to have regard to this when reviewing exclusions and decision making. 

Governors must consider all permanent exclusions and where fixed term exclusions exceed 15 days in any one term.  Governors must also consider any fixed term exclusions when requested to do so by a parent.

Responsibilities in relation to exclusion from Schools and Academies document (Word 65KB) describes: 

  • practical details in arranging a review hearing 
  • meeting procedures to ensure all parties have been given an opportunity to have their say 
  • considerations to make fair and impartial decision making.

In making their decision Governors should also make reference to key legislation and guidance where exclusions are considered for example, the Equality Act and Special Educational needs code of practice.  Certain groups such as pupils who have statements of special educational needs, pupils with disabilities and those vulnerable pupils such as children looked after are specifically mentioned in the guidance with regard to procedures to protect them from exclusion.  Useful links are given below.

Governors should ensure parents are informed of their decision within 1 working day and also of their right to independent review.

Governors can contact their area reintegration co-ordinator for advice on issues or training available:

Rose Johnson
Barrow and South Lakes

David Ross
Carlisle and Eden

Kirsty Nellist
Allerdale and Copeland

The following strategies and considerations are not exhaustive and reference should be made to the statutory guidance for full information:

Equality Act 2010 guidance

Special Educational Needs code of practice (PDF 500KB)

Further information

Practical details for Governors to consider in undertaking their responsibilities in relation to exclusion from schools/academies (Word 69KB)