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Exclusions update

Published
08.09.2022

The following update contains information from Gloucestershire County Council around the new DfE guidance on School suspensions and permanent exclusions which came into effect on 1st September 2022.

The following update contains information from Gloucestershire County Council around the new DfE guidance on School suspensions and permanent exclusions which came into effect on 1st September 2022.

GCC guidance and templates have been updated and can be found at: Exclusions - Schoolsnet (gloucestershire.gov.uk)

The DfE Exclusions guidance has been updated to be a companion piece to the Behaviour in schools - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk), which provides advice to headteachers, trust leaders and school staff on implementing a behaviour policy which creates a school culture with high expectations of behaviour.

Please note:

  • The following is a summary to support understanding of the new guidance but is not a full overview, therefore it is essential that all Headteachers, Governors and school staff familiarise themselves with the full DfE guidance.
  • Please ensure the Governing board is made aware of this guidance
  • The regulations as amended, and this guidance apply to exclusions that occur on or after 1 September 2022. The previous guidance applies to exclusions that occurred before this date.

 

1) Exclusions processes:

  • Cancelling an exclusion: The process has been clarified when a Headteacher (HT) cancels an exclusion before it has been reviewed by the Governing body. This includes who must be notified of a cancelled exclusion (P:13, Par:13)
  • Pupils, with SEND including EHCP. Sets out duties under the Equality Act 2010. Where risk of exclusion schools in partnership with others, including LA where relevant should consider additional support or alternative placement including assessing suitability of provision for SEND. For those with EHCP an early annual review should be considered. For those at SEN support review with external specialists as appropriate. (P:23, par:53 – 56)
  • Role of Social Worker (SW) and Virtual School (VSH).
  • Statutory change now means SW and VSH (where it is applicable) MUST be notified of all exclusions and invited to Governor review panels. (P:29, par:77/78)
  • SW/VSH should attend Governor review meetings, as far as possible, or provide written information. (P:43, par:126/127)
  • SW have a role in supporting pupils to provide their views prior to HT making their decision (P:11, par:4)
  • SW and VSH must be invited to attend or provide written submission to Independent Review Panels ((P:59, par:209/210)
  • SW and VSH must be alerted where a pupil is at risk of exclusion and schools DSL/DT should work with them and parent/carers to support the pupil. (P:24, par:58/59)
  • Notification of suspensions has changed -the Local Authority (Social worker/VSH where relevant)) must be informed without delay of all school exclusions (including suspensions) regardless of length of the exclusion. (P.30 para:81)
  • Reasonable adjustments during first 5 days of suspension – school’s legal duties to pupils with SEND remain in force during this period (P:12, par:8)
  • Guidance to HT on informing governing board about an exclusion – more detailed guidance on procedures (P:31, par:84-86)
  • Safeguarding including child-on-child abuse. Directs to school’s statutory duties to make arrangements for safeguarding and promoting welfare of pupils -Keeping children safe in education – alongside duties to work with safeguarding partners to look at decisions on a case-by -case basis (P.16, par: 22-25)
  • Monitoring suspensions – Adopt reliable method for monitoring 45 day suspension rule including suspensions received from other schools (P.14, par:14). GCC would also recommend monitoring the number of suspended days to ensure Governor panel put in place once 15 days, in a term, is reached.
  • Successful reintegration – Schools should design a reintegration strategy. Note: a pupil cannot be prevented from returning to a mainstream classroom if parents are unable or unwilling to attend. Where necessary work with relevant staff and multi-agency organisations to identify SEND/health needs. Guidance on use of part-time timetables. (P:17, par:26–30)
  • Day 6 provision for exclusions – This information needs to be included in the notification of exclusion letters or no later than 48 hours before the provision is due to start. (P:27, par:67). Where a pupil has a social worker or is CiC, the school, local authority and social worker should work together to arrange AP placement from first day following suspension or permanent exclusion (P:33, par:92) Please note the Virtual School continues to offer the CiC protocol for Gloucestershire CiC.

 

2) Off-rolling and unlawful exclusions (P:15, par 17 – 21):

  • telling or forcing a pupil to leave school or not allowing them to attend school is a suspension (temporary) or permanent exclusion and must be done in accordance with statutory legislation.
  • Sets out examples of unlawful exclusions
  • Unlawful exclusions which lead to a child being removed from register is off-rolling.
  • pressuring parents to remove their child from school under threat of PEX/ encouraging them to choose EHE or find another school place is off-rolling. Parents in these situations can follow school’s complaints procedure or if maintained school forward complaint to LA.
  • Ofsted likely to judge school as inadequate if evidence of off rolling and leaders taken insufficient actions to address this.

 

3) Pupil Movement

  • Managed Moves (P:22, par:47-51) – Sets out clearer guidance on the process:
  • Where a child has an EHCP the relevant statutory duties on the new school and LA will apply. If the current school is contemplating a managed move, it should contact the authority prior to the managed move. If the local authority, both schools and parents agree that there should be a managed move, the local authority will need to follow the statutory procedures for amending a plan.
  • Managed moves should be offered as part of a planned intervention. The original school should be able to evidence that appropriate initial intervention has been carried out, including, where relevant, multi-agency support, or any statutory assessments were done or explored prior to a managed move. It is also important for the new school to ensure that the pupil is provided with an effective integration strategy.
  • If a parent believes that they are being pressured into a managed move or is unhappy with a managed move, they can take up the issue through the school’s formal complaints procedure with the governing board and, where appropriate, the local authority. Ofsted will consider any evidence found of a parent being pressured into a managed move that has resulted in off-rolling and is likely to judge a school as inadequate on the basis of such evidence.
  • Off-site direction (P:20, par:35-46) Clarified guidance on the use of off-site direction as a short-term measure that can be used as part of a school’s behaviour management strategy where in-school interventions and/or outreach have been unsuccessful:
  • The governing board must comply with the Education (Educational Provision for Improving Behaviour) Regulations 2010 “Alternative Provision: Statutory guidance for local authorities, headteachers and governing bodies.” Whilst the alternative provision guidance section does legally apply to maintained schools, academy trusts are also encouraged to follow this guidance.
  • Off-site direction can be to APS or another mainstream school
  • Off-site direction may only be used to improve future behaviour and not as a sanction or punishment for past misconduct.
  • Nature of interventions, objectives and timeline to achieve these should be clearly defined and agreed upfront. The plan should then be frequently monitored and reviewed. Alternative options should be considered once the time limit has been reached including MM on a permanent basis (if pupil in mainstream school)
  • Pupils must continue to receive a broad and balanced curriculum, and this will support reintegration back into mainstream schooling.

Governors’ duties regarding Off-site direction are set out in relation to notifying parents and LA (if EHCP) on-going review of plans for pupil’s directed off-site, holding regular review meetings with all relevant parties and written notification of decisions.

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