November 19, 2009
If your child has been excluded from school without sufficient reason you can make a complaint.
Who do you complain to?
The particular arrangements will depend on the school you are dealing with. They have a duty to explain these mechanisms to you.
Appeal to the governing body (or committee of governors). Your school should provide you with the details.
Parents of pupils from local education authority (LEA) maintained schools can also complain to the LEA if their child has been excluded permanently, or for more than five days, or in circumstances in which they would lose the opportunity to take a public examination.
LEA maintained schools include community schools, community special schools, foundation schools, voluntary aided and voluntary controlled schools.
In an independent school, only the governing body has the power to order reinstatement if your child was permanently excluded. The LEA can only intercede in cases of fixed period exclusions (suspensions).
If the governing body of the school upholds the exclusion, you have the right to appeal to an independent appeal committee (the governing body or LEA will be able to tell you about this).
What grounds do you have to complain?
Your child has the right to a school place while he or she is between the ages of five and 16.
Will you get a fair hearing?
The initial procedure (to the governing body or the LEA) is internal.
Education appeal committees are set up by the LEA but are legally independent of them and include a majority of lay members. All appeal committees are overseen by the independent council on tribunals, which ensures that the procedures are as open, fair and impartial as possible.
What will happen if you’re successful?
If the governing body or LEA finds in your favour, then your son or daughter will be allowed to return to the school.
Anything else you can do?
The decision of the appeals panel is binding.
If you are not satisfied with the way the appeal was handled, contact the local government ombudsman. If the ombudsman finds in your favour, he or she will recommend that the school re-admits the child in question. The ombudsman has no power to impose any recommendations, but schools do normally comply.
Both parties can challenge the appeals panel decision through judicial review, but only on a point of law.