Request an independent review panel

Request an independent review panel


Requesting an independent review panel (IRP) must be done within 15 school days of the family receiving notice of the governing board's decision to uphold the exclusion. The address to post the application should be included in the letter confirming the governors’ decision to uphold the exclusion. If it is not, then a request should be made to the local education authority if the excluding school is a maintained school. It should be made to the principal of the school if the excluding school is an academy. The time limit for requesting an IRP is 15 school days from the communication of the governing board's decision. That means 15 school days from the date that the decision is deemed "served" in the legal sense.

Deemed service depends on the delivery method:

  • First-class post: The second business day after it was posted, left with, delivered to or collected by the relevant service provider provided that day is a business day; or if not, the next business day after that.
  • Delivered to or left at the relevant place before 12.00 midnight: on the second business day after that day.
  • Fax: the second business day after the transmission of the fax.
  • Email: the second business day after sending the email or other electronic transmission.

In most cases, it will be useful to make the request within 15 school days of the date of the letter itself to avoid the possibility that the time limit may be accidentally missed.

There is no discretion for an IRP to hear a matter where a request is made outside of this time limit.

Sometimes the local authority or school will provide a form to complete to request an IRP. If not, ensure your letter or email includes:

  • The young person's details;
  • The fact that you are requesting an IRP;
  • Whether you are requesting a SEN expert;
  • A brief summary of your grounds. To help you prepare your grounds, see the Step-by-Step Guide: Preparing arguments for the independent review panel

Next step? 

Once you have requested an IRP, close this guide by clicking finish.



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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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