2. Identifying alternatives to permanent exclusion

There is no formal process for families to divert young people from permanent exclusion An exclusion that results in the young person being removed from the school register and barred from the school’s campus indefinitely. once the headteacher has made the decision to exclude. Each of the processes set out in this guide are voluntary. They rely on the willingness of the family, the school and, in some circumstances, the local authority A borough, county or city council that has responsibility for providing education to children in their area. to agree to make them work.

However, avoiding an exclusion and any challenge to it can benefit the school and local authority A borough, county or city council that has responsibility for providing education to children in their area. as well as the family, and it is worth exploring each option.

Whilst going through this guide, keep in mind that during a challenge to a school exclusion the relationship with the headteacher can quickly become strained. Because all the processes below rely on some goodwill, as they are all voluntary for the headteacher, it’s best to explore these options early before the relationship becomes more difficult.

This step of the guide includes three options:

  1. Withdrawal of the exclusion
  2. Managed moves
  3. Elective home education

Withdrawal of the exclusion

The headteacher has the power to withdraw an exclusion before it is considered by the school’s governors.  

In most circumstances the headteacher will be unlikely to agree, because they will have previously taken the decision to impose the exclusion in the first place.

It is useful to consider whether it is right to make this request in the circumstances of your exclusion. Whilst it may appear to be the simplest way to avoid an exclusion, if you ask the headteacher to withdraw the exclusion but the circumstances make it unlikely that they will agree, you might lose some goodwill which you can otherwise rely on to ask the headteacher to engage in the other voluntary arrangements set out in this guide.

You should consider this option when:

  • The young person’s priority is to be readmitted to the excluding school; and
  • You have clear and compelling evidence that the school has acted outside of their lawful powers or that the school has made a serious procedural error; or
  • You have new evidence to present to the headteacher that may affect the headteacher’s decision to exclude, but which was not available to the headteacher at the time. For example, if the exclusion resulted from an arrest by the police, but the police investigation has closed because there is no evidence to support the accusations.

Asking the headteacher to withdraw the exclusion can be done in two steps:

  1. Write to the person you are supporting to set out this option. You may want to use the Suggested Wording: Providing Information to the Family on Asking the Headteacher to Withdraw the Exclusion;
  2. Write to the headteacher to make the request. You may want to consider using the Suggested Wording: Asking the Headteacher to Withdraw the Exclusion because the Exclusion is Clearly Flawed or the Suggested Wording: Asking the Headteacher to Withdraw the Exclusion because there is New Evidence.

If you are not going to ask the headteacher to withdraw the exclusion, or you ask but the headteacher refuses, consider 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. .

Managed Moves:

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 voluntary agreement between two schools. The process moves a young person from being registered at one school, to being registered at another school.

For more information read the Quick-Guide: Managed Moves.

You should consider this option when:

  • The person you are working with does not want to return to the excluding school, even if the exclusion was withdrawn; or
  • The person you are working with wants to return to the excluding school, but the chances of successfully challenging the exclusion are low; and
  • The priority of the person you are working with is staying in mainstream education, above having the opportunity to challenge the exclusion.

Before perusing this option, it is best to get in touch with the local education authority to get their view, following the directions at step 1 of this guide. This is because:

  • The local education authority may have its own systems for facilitating managed moves. This will make it easier to identify a school to receive the young person and they may make the approach to that school themselves, making harder for the excluding school to refuse;
  • The local education authority may be willing to undertake 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.  ”. This eliminates the risk for the sending school that the young person might return to them, but be aware that this means the young person will not get the chance to challenge the exclusion 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. They may instead be placed in a pupil referral unit.

Asking the headteacher to consider 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. can be done in two steps:

  1. Write to the person you are working with to set out this option. Consider using the Suggested Wording: Providing Information to the Family on Requesting a Managed Move;
  2. Write to the local education authority to seek their view on 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. . Consider using the Suggested Wording: Making First Contact with the Local Authority;
  3. Write to the headteacher to request that they consider 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. . Consider using the Suggested Wording: Asking the Headteacher to Consider a Managed Move.

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 not appropriate, or you request one, but it is refused, move on to the next section on elective home education.

Elective home education

Elective home education is the process of a parent or guardian voluntarily withdrawing a young person from state provision of education. It ends the local education authority’s normal duty to ensure education is available for the young person.

Families should never feel pressured by the threat of permanent exclusion An exclusion that results in the young person being removed from the school register and barred from the school’s campus indefinitely. to withdraw their child from the school’s register. This is unlawful and families should never be asked or encouraged to home educate. Electing for home education means opting out of the education system as a whole and families may find themselves without any support from any school or local authority A borough, county or city council that has responsibility for providing education to children in their area. if they opt for home education. Families should be able to take an informed decision with knowledge of the other forms of provision available to them before committing to elect for home education.

Families may want to refer to the Department for Education’s Guidance on Elective Home Education to understand the implications for them. You should only follow these steps if the family have been given the relevant information and elective home education remains their choice, instead of a challenge to the permanent exclusion An exclusion that results in the young person being removed from the school register and barred from the school’s campus indefinitely. .

For more information read the Quick-Guide: Elective Home Education.

Like managed moves, avoiding exclusion through elective home education will require some cooperation of the excluding school. This is because, once a headteacher has excluded someone, voluntarily removing that person from the register doesn’t undo the exclusion. Withdrawing the exclusion would require agreement from the headteacher that, because the young person won’t be returning to the school, there is no need for the exclusion to continue.

You should consider this option when:

  • The young person does not want to return to the excluding school but the headteacher will not consider 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. ;
  • The young person’s priority is to not go to a pupil referral unit but there is not a strong challenge to the school exclusion;
  • The family are in a good position to provide education at home.

You can ask the headteacher to withdraw the exclusion in favour of elective home education in 2 steps:

  1. Write to the person you are working with to set out this option. Consider using the Suggested Wording: Providing Information to the Family on Elective Home Education;
  2. Write to the school and ask them to request that the exclusion be withdrawn because the young person is electing for home education. Consider using the Suggested Wording: Asking the Headteacher to Withdraw the Exclusion in favour of Elective Home Education.

If you secure an alternative and the governors' panel review is cancelled, exit this guide. Otherwise, continue to the next step.

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