14 October 2003
A 15 year old boy returned to school after his headmaster admitted he had failed to go through the proper procedures when excluding him from school.
The boy was in year 10 of his local secondary school and had just started his GCSE courses. He was excluded from school part way through the year, before he could sit his mock exams. At the time, his parents were not given any details about the length of the exclusion, just that they should keep him at home until they heard from the Head.
Finally, after a delay of approximately two weeks, they received a letter from the Headmaster saying that their son was excluded until the end of term and that from September he would be placed at a Pupil Referral Unit (PRU). The letter did not give any further details about the placement or that they had the right to make representations about the Head’s decision. A meeting of the Governing Body should also have been arranged.
The parents then contacted their Local Education Authority (LEA) who was unaware of his exclusion. The school had failed to comply with their obligation to notify them as well.
in the Human Rights Department at Leigh Day & Co began working with the family in August when the arrangements for the young man to continue his education were very unclear. His parents didn’t want him to go to the PRU because it only offered a basic education and their son could not complete his GCSE courses or take public examinations there.
Letters were written to the school and the LEA but there was no response from the school. Legal proceedings were about to be issued when the Headteacher admitted hehad failed to afford the parents their appeal rights "due to an administrative error" and that, as it was not a permanent exclusion, the child was allowed back at the start of the autumn term.
In this case the school was compelled to go through the correct procedures to ensure fairness in the handling of the situation. This would also apply to other areas of education such as admission procedures.
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