The governing board should consider a young person's rights under the Human Rights Act before upholding an exclusion against them. Relevant human rights protections include the right to education, the right to private and family life, and the right to non-discrimination. The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child has a number of Articles relevant to the issue of school exclusion, in particular:
- Protection of the child against all forms of discrimination or punishment (Art 2)
- In all actions concerning children, the best interests of the child should be a primary consideration (Art 3)
- A right for children, who are capable of forming their own views, the right to express those views freely in all matters affecting them. The views of the child should be given due weight in accordance with the child’s age and maturity (Art 12)
- A right to education, on the basis of equal opportunity. School discipline should be administered in a manner consistent with the child’s human dignity (Art 28).
Consider the letter confirming the exclusion, the minutes, and any other record of the governing board's deliberations. See if there is any suggestion in these documents that the governing board agree that the exclusion breaches the young person's human rights.
Then answer the question: did the governing board agree that the exclusion was in breach of the Human Rights Act but uphold it anyway?
If the answer is yes, consider the Suggested Wording document: Argument to the IRP: Governing board's decision unlawful (human rights)
Note: The suggested wording at this step covers the right to private and family life. Arguments under the ECHR right to non-discrimination are complex and difficult to pursue in exclusions challenges. If you want help exploring these arguments, we would advise that this is discussed with a solicitor.