Deciding whether to request an independent review panel

Deciding whether to request an independent review panel


Helping a family decide whether to request an independent review panel (IRP) will often be a straightforward exercise. In some circumstances, it will be difficult to identify a downside, and where the family is not satisfied with the governing board's decision, it will often be a good idea for them to request a review.

Ultimately, it is the decision of the parent or guardian whether to proceed. However, it would be useful to make them aware of the following factors:


  • It is free to request and attend an IRP. 
  • Rates of success at IRP's are much higher than at governing board hearings.
  • Families can request the attendance of an SEN expert to answer questions at the hearing.


  • The IRP's do not have the power to direct the reinstatement of a young person, so the decision will still be for the governing board to take.
  • IRP's cannot "clean" a person’s record. Even if successful, the record of the exclusion will still exist, but it will be updated to show the IRP’s finding.
  • IRP panellists are not necessarily experts in relevant law, and the quality of the reviews varies from panel to panel.


If you want to write to the young person or their family and give them information on requesting an IRP, consider using the Suggested Text document: Providing information to the family on requesting an independent review panel

Next step?

If the family ask you to request an IRP, continue to the next step.



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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.

Coram Children’s Legal Centre cannot be held responsible if changes to the law outdate this publication. Individuals may print or photocopy information in CCLC publications for their personal use.

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