EXCLUSION APPEAL PANELS

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EXCLUSION APPEAL PANELS Powered By Docstoc
					Statutory Appeals Office
Admission and Exclusion Appeals for Suffolk Schools
Telephone: 01473 264218 Email: Statutory.appealsoffice@legal.suffolkcc.gov.uk Fax: 01473 216825

A GUIDE TO EXCLUSION APPEALS

T able of Contents
Introduction Our Promise

SECTION 1 Translation Services Contact numbers Useful websites SECTION 2 What does the panel do? What happens during a hearing? The decision making process What happens after the hearing? Your rights as a parent Duties of the Statutory Appeals Office

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SECTION 3 Preparing my case Completing the appeal form What happens next?

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SECTION 4 Frequently asked questions Appendix 1 - Layout of the hearing room 14 – 15 16

Introduction
You have the legal right to appeal against the decision of the Pupil Disciplinary Committee who upheld the permanent exclusion of your child. This booklet sets out guidance on going to an Independent Appeal Panel. Please read the guidance carefully before completing the appeal form and then return the form to the address on page 5. Independent panels were set up by the Education Act 2002 and enable all parties involved in the exclusion to be given a fair hearing. The appeal process and its administration are independent of the school and its governing body. The Independent Appeal Panel (IAP) can overturn or uphold the decision of the Pupil Disciplinary Committee (PDC). The panel’s decision is legally binding on all parties and cannot be reexamined.

Our promise
 Be fair and helpful to all parties  Offer a translation or interpretation service if you require assistance  Treat the information you give us confidentially  Provide information about this service which is clear and easy to follow  Deal with your enquiry quickly and efficiently  Be professional and respectful  To ensure that if we are unable to answer your concerns, you are put in touch with someone who can

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Translation Services
This leaflet can be produced on request in other formats and languages such as audio, easy read, Braille, and large print.

Please contact 01473 264218 or email to statutory.appealsoffice@legal.suffolkcc.gov.uk

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Useful phone numbers

Name:

Contact number:

For advice on:
Advise on exclusions permanent

“ACE” Advisory Centre for 020 7704 9822 Education – Exclusion Information Line Parent Helpline Partnership 01473 265210

Support & guidance on Independent Appeal Panels and permanent exclusion from Suffolk Schools To discuss appeal forms, appeal procedures, administration & law. Information on the Local Government Ombudsman

Statutory Appeals Office

01473 264218

Suffolk County Council

0844 800 0101

Useful website links
www.suffolk.gov.uk www.dfes.gov.uk click on education & learning use the search box email the appeals office link to free exclusion advice

statutory.appealsoffice@legal.suffolkcc.gov.uk

http://www.ace-ed.org.uk/advice/exclusionpack.html -

Return completed forms to: Statutory Appeals Office PO BOX 579 Ipswich IP1 2BX
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Your rights as a parent
 You have the right to make an appeal to an independent panel, when the Pupil Disciplinary Committee have upheld the decision to permanently exclude your child  You have the right to make an appeal to an independent panel, even if you did not attend the Pupil Disciplinary Committee hearing, or make representations against the decision to exclude your child  Full time education must be provided for your child from day 6 of a permanent exclusion  Under the Education Act 2002 you have 15 school days to complete and return an appeal form to this office. The 15th school day is counted after the 2nd working day after the letter (governing body’s decision letter) is posted by 1st class post or, where the notice is delivered by hand, from the date of delivery   You can make representations and call witnesses to support your case Even if your child is in alternative education after the permanent exclusion, you can still appeal to an independent panel for the exclusion to be overturned

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Duties of the Statutory Appeals Office
 To ensure that appeal arrangements are simple and easy to follow for the benefit of all parties  That all parties are provided with an independent, impartial and informal forum to have a fair appeal hearing    That panel members are trained appropriately That the principles of natural justice are followed at all times To comply with legislation and guidance published by the Department for Education & Skills  To comply with all anti discrimination legislation and the Human Rights Act

What does the panel do?
The appeal panel is made up of 3 people, a lay chairman, a school governor and a retired head teacher. None of these people will have any links with the school your child has been excluded from.

There will also be a clerk who will assist the panel with any issues. They also record the minutes of the meeting and make sure that the panel follows legal procedure at all times. The clerk has nothing to do with the decision making process.

***IMPORTANT*** When you get your paperwork please check the names of the panel members. If for any reason you know them please ring the statutory appeals office. Do not wait until the day of the hearing to inform us as this may mean a delay.

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What happens during a hearing?
 The school / governing body will explain their case and give evidence that is relevant to the reasons for excluding your child  The panel and you or your representative will have opportunity to ask the school questions about what they have said  You or your representative will explain your case. Expanding on your written reasons, and clarifying why you are appealing against the decision to exclude your child  The panel and the school will then have opportunity to ask you or your representative questions about what you have said  The county’s Inclusion Coordinator will be present and will be given the opportunity to put forward anything which is relevant to the case  All parties will be asked to sum up, and everyone will be asked to leave the room to allow the panel to make a decision

The decision making process
The Panel will make a decision based on the verbal and written reasons presented to them at the hearing, as part of their decision they will consider;      Whether or not your child did what they are said to have done Whether or not the school complied with the law and had regard to guidance on exclusions The schools behaviour, equal opportunities, anti-bullying policies The fairness of the exclusion in relation to the treatment of any other pupils involved in the same incident Whether permanent exclusion was a reasonable response to the child’s behavior 8

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Any reason which may excuse the behavior of the child The affect on other children in the school

The panel can make one of three decisions, these are:   To uphold the permanent exclusion put in place by the school

To over turn the permanent exclusion and order that the child returns to the school (the panel can order the exact date of return)

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To over turn the permanent exclusion and order that the child should not return to the school

What happens after a hearing?
 When the panel has made a decision, the clerk fills in a decision sheet writing down the full reasons for the decision  The final decision is binding on the parent, child, governing body, head teacher and Suffolk County Council. The panel cannot revisit the decision once it has been made  All parties will be written to formally within 48 hours of the appeal. The letter will state the panel’s reasons for their decision

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The Independent Appeal Panel is independent of the school and it’s Governing Body. This means that the panel has no previous knowledge of your child’s past behaviours, nor have they had any contact with the school. They will make a decision based on all the evidence presented to them at the hearing

Preparing my case
 Make sure that you clearly indicate the reasons why you feel that your child should not be excluded  

Give an account of the incident(s) that lead to the permanent exclusion

Include any written and verbal communication between you and the school, and make a note of any meetings which you attended or letters which you have received

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Have you bought about your appeal under the following grounds:  

Disability Discrimination Act 1995 Race Relations Act 1976

For further help contact the Advisory Centre for Education (ACE) on 020 7704 9822 for practical guidance on appealing 10

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You are responsible for deciding what information to present to the independent panel

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You may be required to produce further information in support of any statement you make relating to your child. For example it is not enough to say that your child has a particular medical condition, the panel will wish to see a letter of diagnosis from a doctor and any relevant correspondence from other agencies

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We will accept additional information after you have sent in the appeal form, but it must be received 7 days before the appeal date

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We strongly suggest that you do not present large amounts of additional information at the hearing as the appeal may have to be adjourned

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Make sure all additional paperwork is securely attached to the appeal form

Do not send your appeal form back to the school. All forms must be posted direct to the Statutory Appeals Office

Return completed forms to: Statutory Appeals Office, PO BOX 579, Ipswich, IP1 2BX

Have you got proof of postage? The appeals office is not responsible for lost forms

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Completing the Appeal Form
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. Give the date that the Pupil Disciplinary Committee Hearing took place Name the School from which your child has been permanently excluded Sign and date the appeal form Write your child’s full name in BLOCK CAPITALS State which year group your child is in Write your child’s date of birth and gender Write your full name in BLOCK CAPITALS State your relationship to the child Your address at the time of completing the form Your contact numbers. Please include one that you are available on during office hours 11. If you tick one of these boxes, you are indicating that you are putting your case forward on one of the following grounds (you do not have to tick either) 12. 13. Give us the name of any witnesses you will be calling Tell us if you are going to attend the appeal hearing and if you are bringing anyone with you 14. Give us the name of any person who will be accompanying or representing you at the appeal hearing 15. Indicate if you require an interpreter at the appeal hearing (this is a free service) 16. 17. Indicate if you have a disability which you require help with This section asks that you set out your reasons for appealing (continue onto a separate sheet of paper if required) 18. List any further paperwork that you are attaching with the appeal form. Please indicate if you will be sending it under separate cover

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What happens next?
We will acknowledge receipt of your appeal form.

We will set up a hearing within 15 school days. The appeal will take place at a neutral venue and we will provide a map with contact details.

10 days before the appeal hearing we will write to you setting out the date, time and place.

5 days before the appeal date you will receive a letter from us enclosing the appeal paperwork, this will include:     

The names of those parties attending (including any witnesses) A map to the venue The Governing Body’s statement of case Further paperwork in support of the governing bodies case A copy of your appeal form, plus any additional information you have put forward

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Frequently Asked Questions
Should I attend the appeal and can I bring some one with me?  We always recommend that you do attend your appeal hearing to help explain, expand and clarify points which you have put forward in your written reasons.  You can bring a friend or family member to support you. If you don’t feel that you are able to make a presentation to the panel, then someone else can speak on your behalf  Please make sure that you indicate the name of anyone you are bringing with you on the appeal form

Should my son or daughter attend? 

It is up to you whether your child attends the appeal, however you should bear in mind the following;  If your child does attend they have to answer questions put to them, and your child may be questioned by the head teacher or other representatives of the school   Think carefully about what your child may or may not want to say Do they want to put a statement forward to the panel? This could be in writing

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Am I able to go ahead with the appeal even if my child has been offered a place at another school? 

Yes - the appeal panel does not have to order reinstatement. If the appeal panel decides to overturn the permanent exclusion it will be recorded in your child’s permanent school record

Can I bring witnesses?      Yes either party can bring witnesses, as long as they give relevant evidence If the witness you intend to bring is another pupil then they can attend but only if they do so voluntarily and with their parent’s written consent If you are calling a character witness it will be at the discretion of the panel, but will be allowed unless there is good reason to refuse All witnesses must be prepared to answer any questions The chairman will ask the witness to leave the room after giving evidence

Should I take legal advice? 

Taking legal advise is entirely your decision.

When will I hear about an appeal hearing?  

We have to arrange and appeal hearing within 15 working days of receiving your notice of appeal form We will write to you with a date as soon as possible

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Will I get any information from the school?  5 days before the hearing the statutory appeal office will “swap” documents. This means that you will receive copies of everything the school has put forward and the school will receive any information (including any additional information) you and your family have put forward to support your case.

I have changed my mind about appealing, what do I do? 

Changing your mind about appealing is fine and we will accept withdrawals. Please notify this office as soon as you have changed you mind. Canceling appeals at the last minute is very expensive and time consuming.

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