Quick-Guide: Managed Moves

This Quick-Guide covers the law and practice on managed moves, the process of moving a young person from the register of one school to the register of another.

A managed move A process which moves a young person from the registration of one school to the registration of another by agreement between the family and the schools. does not require the family to make an application to a new school. It is done entirely by agreement between the headteachers.

Managed moves normally work by placing the young person on the register of both the sending school and the receiving school for a set period of time known as the trial period. During the trial period, the young person would be expected to meet certain conditions placed on them at the outset of the managed move A process which moves a young person from the registration of one school to the registration of another by agreement between the family and the schools. . These can range from behavioural conditions, such as complying with the receiving school's behaviour policy; to academic standards, such as achieving certain grades in set tests.

If the young person successfully completest the trial period, they will move onto the register of the receiving school indefinitely, and will be removed from the register of the sending school. If they are not successful then they will be returned to the sending school. If the managed move A process which moves a young person from the registration of one school to the registration of another by agreement between the family and the schools. was used as an attempt to avoid a permanent exclusion An exclusion that results in the young person being removed from the school register and barred from the school’s campus indefinitely. , it will be likely that they will face exclusion on return to the sending school.

This Quick-Guide covers:

  1. The relevant law
    1. A permanent exclusion An exclusion that results in the young person being removed from the school register and barred from the school’s campus indefinitely. should be a last resort;
    2. Public law principals.
  2. The process of a managed move A process which moves a young person from the registration of one school to the registration of another by agreement between the family and the schools.
  3. Managed transfers

1. The Relevant Law

Managed moves are a voluntary arrangement between schools. This means that there are no circumstances in which a headteacher must agree to a managed move A process which moves a young person from the registration of one school to the registration of another by agreement between the family and the schools. or even engage in the process of trying to find a school to move a young person to.

However, like with any decision a public body An organisation that performs a public function with public funds. Includes schools (includes academies and free-schools, but not independent or private schools), CAMHS, the local authority and the police. makes, the headteacher’s decision to engage or not engage in the process should be lawful, rational, fair and in line with the requirements in the Exclusions Guidance Statutory guidance to schools, governors and local authorities on the law and process for excluding, and reviewing exclusions. The 2017 edition of the guidance is the current version. .

A permanent exclusion An exclusion that results in the young person being removed from the school register and barred from the school’s campus indefinitely. should be a last resort

The Exclusions Guidance Statutory guidance to schools, governors and local authorities on the law and process for excluding, and reviewing exclusions. The 2017 edition of the guidance is the current version. sets out in the Key Points that a permanent exclusion An exclusion that results in the young person being removed from the school register and barred from the school’s campus indefinitely. should only ever be used where it is a last resort.

In this context “last resort” should be read in a common-sense way, meaning that all other options must have been exhausted first.

If a managed move A process which moves a young person from the registration of one school to the registration of another by agreement between the family and the schools. is an available option, but the headteacher refuses to agree to it, then it is reasonable to expect them to provide good reason for this decision. If they cannot provide a good reason, it may be argued that the exclusion has not been used as a last resort.

Public law principals

Public law principals apply to any decision a school makes, including whether to engage in the managed move A process which moves a young person from the registration of one school to the registration of another by agreement between the family and the schools. process. This means that the decision should be lawful, rational and fair.

Lawfulness requires that a school only acts within the scope of powers that have been granted to it by the law. There is very little law on managed moves except that families should never feel pressured to accept one under threat of exclusion. If a school attempted to force a managed move A process which moves a young person from the registration of one school to the registration of another by agreement between the family and the schools. on a family in this way, it would likely be unlawful.

Rationality A legal principle which sets a standard for the decision making of all public bodies. Requires that public bodies include relevant information, disregard irrelevant information and do not make decisions that are unreasonable, given the information available. in public law requires that a school considers all relevant information but does not consider irrelevant information before making a decision. Having considered this information, the decisions should be reasonable given the information available. This will mean that a school should consider circumstances relevant to a managed move A process which moves a young person from the registration of one school to the registration of another by agreement between the family and the schools. , such as whether there is a receiving school available, whether it is likely to be successful and whether it is an option the young person would benifit from.

Fairness in public law is the requirement that proper and fair procedures are followed when coming to a decision. This will mean that a headteacher cannot simply go through the motions of considering a managed move A process which moves a young person from the registration of one school to the registration of another by agreement between the family and the schools. without any intention of actually making it work. If it is reasonable and lawful to pursue one, they should follow that process in good faith, attempting to secure a good outcome for the young person.

2. The process of a managed move A process which moves a young person from the registration of one school to the registration of another by agreement between the family and the schools.

Whilst there is a typical format for the process of a managed move A process which moves a young person from the registration of one school to the registration of another by agreement between the family and the schools. , these are not established in law and they may work differently in different parts of the country. Different local authorities and schools may have their own practices.

The typical format of a managed move A process which moves a young person from the registration of one school to the registration of another by agreement between the family and the schools. is:

  • A school is identified to receive the young person as a new student. This may be identified by the family, the headteacher or the local education authority;
  • The receiving school enrols the young person by adding them to their register;
  • A transfer agreement should be agreed between all parties which sets out the start date of the managed move A process which moves a young person from the registration of one school to the registration of another by agreement between the family and the schools. , the length of the trial period and the terms for successful completion;
  • The young person remains on the register of the sending school for the trial period;
  • If the young person successfully completes the trial period then they transfer permanently to the new receiving school and are taken off the roll of the sending school;
  • If, during the trial period, the receiving school feels that the process has broken down then the young person may be returned to the sending school;
  • If returned to the sending school, the young person may face exclusion again.

3. Managed transfers

Some local authorities will offer a guarantee to the sending school that if the managed move A process which moves a young person from the registration of one school to the registration of another by agreement between the family and the schools. fails, the young person will be transferred to the responsibility of the local authority A government organisation with jurisdiction over a local area such as a borough or county, often called a local council. Where multiple authorities overlap, the local education authority (LEA) has responsibility for excluded children. , not the sending school.

This is sometimes called a “ managed transfer A type of managed move in which the local authority guarantees that the young person will not return to the sending school, even If the trial period fails.  ”. Managed transfers may result in the young person being placed in an alternative provision An education institution for students outside of mainstream and special schooling. Includes Pupil Referral Units and annexes to mainstream schools. place if they do not complete the trial period, such as a pupil referral unit.

The benifit is that the sending school's headteacher may have more incentive to go ahead with the move, as it is often the anxiety that the young person will fail the trial and return to the school that causes their reluctance to engage. However, the downside is that if the young person does not successfuly complete the trial theny they may end up being placed in a PRU without having the benifit of challenging the exclusion.