SBC Exclusion Policy and Procedures
This document can be made available on tape, in Braille, large print and various computer formats by contacting Education & Lifelong Learning’s Communication Unit at the address at end of the policy document. The Unit can also provide information on other language translations.
2. STATEMENT OF ETHOS
Scottish Borders Council’s Policy and Procedures on Exclusion from school are set against a context of a positive ethos of inclusion.
We are committed to:
- Minimising the use of exclusion.
- Addressing the educational needs of excluded pupils.
- Rigorous self-evaluation and audit in order to monitor and analyse the use of exclusion in schools in Scottish Borders
A positive ethos has been identified as being fundamental to raising achievement and is linked to the development of anti-bullying, peer support and other whole-school strategies. Authorities with a positive ethos encourage achievement, celebrate success, have high expectations for every child, have lower exclusion rates and fewer discipline problems.
We seek to minimise the need to use exclusion procedures through promoting a positive and inclusive school ethos, i.e. where all pupils are treated fairly and consistently, and offered an educational experience that they value and that recognises and meets, as far as is practicable, their individual needs.
3. PUPIL SUPPORT FRAMEWORK
Schools must ensure that pupil support is offered within a framework which allows for a proactive and flexible approach. This has to include using as appropriate all resources and support at school, locality or authority level.
This must embrace alternative strategies to reinforce positive behaviour and must go beyond simple reinforcement of school rules and disciplinary codes.
Although recognising that each school and locality will be slightly different due to the localised resources available there are clear and consistent stages of pupil support:
Step 1 Class/departmental support
Step 2 Pastoral/In School support service
Step 3 In house discussion/pre-Support Liaison Group(SLG) or pre- Joint Agency Action Team (JAAT)
Step 4 Professionals Meeting/SLG /JAAT/Additional Needs Management Team (ANMAT+ ) for primary schools
Step 5 Authority Pupil Support Manager involvement
Step 6 Regional Liaison Group referral
4. STATEMENT OF LEGISLATION
The power to exclude a pupil from school and the circumstances under which a pupil may be excluded are set out in Regulation 4 of the Schools General ( Scotland) Regulations 1975, as amended. The relevant amending Regulations are the Schools General ( Scotland) (Amendment) Regulations 1982 and the Schools General ( Scotland) Amendment (No 2) Regulations 1982.
5. GROUNDS FOR EXCLUSION
Regulation 4 states that an education authority shall not exclude a pupil from school unless the authority:
- “are of the opinion that the parent of the pupil refuses or fails to comply, or to allow the pupil to comply, with the rules, regulations or disciplinary requirements of the school”; or
- “consider that in all circumstances to allow the pupil to continue attendance at the school would be likely to be seriously detrimental to order and discipline at the school or the educational well-being of the pupils there.”
6. APPROPRIATE CIRCUMSTANCES
When deciding to exclude a pupil, schools must ultimately be able to demonstrate to the courts if necessary that such action is the appropriate response to the behaviour in question. Exclusion is not a form of punishment, but rather a management tool to maintain good order and discipline.
When other measures have been considered and deemed inappropriate, exclusion should be used where justified in terms of Regulation 4 above and where the circumstances are such that its implementation would achieve one or more of the following;
- safeguard the well-being and education of other pupils
- safeguard the well-being of school staff
- safeguard the well-being of the excluded pupil
7. POWER TO EXCLUDE
The power to exclude is delegated to the Headteacher of the school and to the senior member of staff deputising in his or her absence.
8. LEGAL CAPACITY
The critical factor in dealing directly with a child or young person is whether or not they are deemed to be of “legal capacity”. According to the Age of Legal Capacity Act a child as young as 12 is presumed to be of sufficient age and maturity to have the legal capacity to instruct a solicitor in civil proceedings, and has been given the right to appeal against their own exclusion in terms of the Standards in Scotland’s Schools etc. Act 2000. However, until a child is 16 years or over, every school in this Authority, will automatically inform and involve parents and carers, unless the pupil is a young person over school leaving age, or there are sound reasons not to do so.
If the pupil is a young person over school leaving age, then there is no legal obligation to inform and involve the pupil’s parents or carers of the exclusion. This should only be done if the pupil is in agreement with this course of action. If not, then the pupil rather than a parent or carer should receive the relevant written documentation.
9. SCOPE OF THE POLICY
The scope of the policy covers all pupils at the authority’s schools in the Scottish Borders from nursery classes through to sixth year students.
10. PUPILS WITH ADDITIONAL SUPPORT NEEDS
The definition of a disabled person under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 is “Someone who has a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long term adverse affect on his/her ability to carry out normal day to day activities”.
This is a broad description that covers pupils with physical or mental impairments and may include children with learning disability, sensory impairment, severe dyslexia, diabetes, or epilepsy, pupils who are incontinent, or who have AIDS, severe disfigurements or progressive conditions like muscular dystrophy. This list is not exhaustive and other pupils may be regarded as disabled, based on their own individual circumstances and the impact this has on their ability to function day to day.
It is lawful to exclude a child/young person with a disability so long as the reason for the exclusion is not directly related to their disability.
When a child/young person with a disability warrants exclusion, consideration should be given to minimising the impact on the support provided for parents. The provision of a robust paper trail to cover this should always be ensured.
11. ”LOOKED AFTER” AND “LOOKED AFTER AND ACCOMMODATED CHILDREN” (LAC/LAAC)
If a LAC/LAAC pupil warrants an exclusion, then consideration will be given to their individual circumstances. This is particularly important for those children on Supervision Orders accommodated at home. Social Work will be notified of the decision to exclude.
12. JOINT PROVISION
When a pupil has a joint educational provision (on the register of their local ‘base’ school but attending part time at a specialist support centre) the responsibility for recording an exclusion remains with the pupil’s base school.
13. SQA CANDIDATES
If a pupil is excluded immediately before or during an examination period, adequate provision must be made to ensure that the pupil is not unduly disadvantaged.
14. TYPES OF EXCLUSION
There are two forms of exclusion
When a pupil is excluded from school and remains on the register of the school because it is expected that the pupil will return when the period of exclusion is completed.
b. “Exclusion/Removal from the Register”
This would only be applicable in very serious situations which, because of the level of severity, would automatically involve the Director of Education & Lifelong Learning in the discussions with the school and the Director will make the final decision.
(In accordance with Guidance contained in Annex C to Scottish Executive Education Department Circular 8/03, all exclusions will be referred to in one or other of the terms in headings (a) and (b) above).
15. PROCEDURES FOR EXCLUSION
Headteachers (or the senior teacher deputising for the Headteacher) must follow the procedures detailed below, which are designed to ensure fairness and openness in the handling of exclusions.
16. PROCEDURES FOR EXCLUSION/REMOVAL FROM THE REGISTER
If an incident is so severe that removal from the register becomes necessary, the Headteacher and Pupil Support Manager will discuss this in the first instance with the relevant Head of Schools who will in turn discuss this with the Director of Education & Lifelong Learning.
If the Director decides that “Exclusion/Removal from the Register” is necessary then the Director will write to the parent/carer, unless the pupil is over school age, in which case the Director shall write to the pupil and shall only write to the parent/carer if the pupil agrees.
17. APPEALS PROCEDURE
A Parent/Carer and pupil (if over 16) has the right to appeal a decision on exclusion to the Council’s Education Appeal Committee and ultimately to the Sheriff.
The Panel, from which members of Appeal Committees will be drawn comprises 54 people:
- The Convener, who will be Chairman of the Panel
- Vice-Chairman of the Education Executive, who will be Vice-Chairman of the Panel.
[Neither of these may chair an Appeal Committee.]
- 11 Members of the Education Executive.
- 25 Members of Council who are not members of the Education Executive.
- 18 individuals who are not members of the Council or the Education Executive and who are either parents of children of school age or people with experience in education or familiar with the educational conditions in the Borders, and who are nominated by a Parent Councils. One representative can be nominated by each Secondary School Parent Council and by the Parent Council for the largest primary school in each of the catchment areas for the nine secondary schools. In the event of any Parent Council declining to provide a nominee, then a nomination will be sought from the Parent Council of the next largest primary school and so on. Members of staff of the education authority (except teachers) are expressly excluded from serving on appeals panels. Anyone with any connection with a school which could raise doubts about their impartiality are also excluded from hearing appeals.
Corporate Administration will arrange and clerk the Hearing and invite the person making the appeal to attend. The rights of the person making an appeal are;
- To appear or to be represented at the Hearing;
- To be accompanied at the Hearing by up to three friends, one of whom may also represent the appellant;
- To lodge written representations; and
- To allow the presentation of the case to rest on written representation
At the start of a Hearing, the chairman of the Appeal Committee will outline procedure. The proceedings will usually be conducted in the following order.
- Presentation of case for the Education Authority;
- Questioning by the person making the appeal
- Presentation of case for the person making the appeal;
- Questioning by the Education Authority;
- Summing up by the Authority; and
- Summing up by the person making the appea
The chairman has certain discretionary powers to disallow questioning that is elaborative or repetitive.
17.a Decision of the Education Appeal Committee
At t he end of the Hearing the chairman of the Appeal Committee will inform the person making the Appeal and the Authority whether the Committee are in a position to confirm its decision, or if they require further time for consideration.
If the person making the Appeal is not present or represented at the Hearing, they must be notified immediately of either the decision or need for further time to consider the decision. It is important that the decision is fully and clearly expressed and capable of being understood by a lay person.
If the Appeal Committee are unable to make a decision at the end of the Hearing they have a maximum of fourteen days to notify the appellant of their decision and the reasons for it. Where it is appropriate, the letter must inform the person making the appeal of any right of appeal to the Sheriff and the time limits that will be applicable.
All decisions must be in writing and reasons given to support the decision.
In order to reach its decision, each member of the Appeal Committee will, for the purpose of the Committee reaching a decision, be obliged to cast a vote either in favour of or against refusing to confirm the decision of the Education Authority to which the appeal relates.
17.b Support Services for the Appeals Hearing
Each Appeal Committee will have the services of a clerk whose role will be fully explained to the person making the appeal. The clerk will be a Scottish Borders Council officer, authorised by the Head of Corporate Administration and will be responsible for arranging the Hearings and ordering the business at the Hearing. The clerk will be an employee who, in the course of his/her employment by the Authority, does not deal regularly with the exclusion of children. Basically, there should be no conflict of interest. The clerk will take notes and record decisions, the reasons for the decision and generally ensure the smooth running of the Hearing on the day.
It will also be one of the clerk’s duties to remain with the Committee during the deliberative stage and, when necessary, offer advice on procedures.
The clerk will keep brief notes of the proceedings – who was in attendance, the voting process and record the decisions – in a form previously agreed by the Authority.
18. LINKS TO CORPORATE PLAN
This policy links to the following priorities in the Council’s corporate plan
- Strong social justice and inclusion
- Provide opportunities for young people to actively participate in the community
- Improve accessibility to high quality learning and development opportunities
- Raise achievement and attainment levels
19. MONITORING AND REVIEW OF POLICY
This policy will be monitored by the Pupil Support Manager who will report on the statistics and performance of the policy to the Education Management Team on an annual basis each March, beginning in March 2008.
The policy will be reviewed in March 2009 or earlier if there are changes in the legislation or feedback from its implementation suggests that this is desirable.
Scottish Borders Council
Education & Lifelong Learning
Council Headquarters, Newtown St Boswells, TD6 0SA
Tel: 01835 824000