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Staff with responsibility for school exclusion; individuals with responsibility for school finance.

Summary

Under provisions in the Education Act 2011, independent appeal panels will be replaced by independent review panels from September 2012. If requested by a parent, local authorities will be required to arrange an independent review panel to consider the decision of a governing body or management committee to uphold a permanent exclusion from a maintained school or pupil referral unit.

The key changes for local authorities under the new system are as follows:

  • Local authorities will need to arrange for independent review panel members and clerks to complete the essential training requirements. Some of these are different to those for independent appeal panels.
  • Where requested by a parent, local authorities will need to appoint a special educational needs expert to attend an independent review panel.
  • Where a governing body is directed to reconsider a permanent exclusion by an independent review panel and it does not subsequently offer to reinstate the pupil, the school will be expected to make an additional payment to the local authority towards the costs of alternative provision.

New regulations and statutory guidance will accompany these changes. The Department launched a public consultation on the guidance and regulations on 16 December 2011. The consultation will close on 17 February 2012 and we would welcome local authorities' views. The consultation is available on the Department's website.

Action required and due date

LAs are invited to consider responding to the consultation by 17 February 2012.