Was the governing board’s decision “unreasonable”?

Was the governing board’s decision “unreasonable”?


The principles of public law require that any decision that the governing board makes is reasonable. This is sometimes referred to as 'rationality'. Reasonableness requires that the governing board's decisions and conclusions are logical and based on all the relevant information. There are three elements:

Firstly, did the governors consider factors that they ought not to have considered? Relying on factors or information that are not relevant may cause the decision to uphold the exclusion to be irrational and fail the reasonableness test.

Secondly, did the school fail to consider factors that it ought to have considered? If there are relevant factors that the headteacher has not considered before deciding to exclude, then the decision may be irrational, and therefore the exclusion may be unreasonable.

Thirdly, was the decision to exclude the young person so unreasonable that no reasonable governing board would have made it? If the decision of the governing board was made after considering the right information but did not follow logically from the information available, then it may be considered unreasonable.

For more information on reasonableness in public law, read the Quick-Guide: A headteacher's power to exclude

Next step? 

Review the decision letter from the governing board and the minutes of the governing board hearing, then answer the question: Was the governing board's decision, or were any of their findings, unreasonable?



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This information is correct at the time of writing, 5th September 2023. The law in this area is subject to change.

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