Did the headteacher give reason/s for the exclusion?

Did the headteacher give reason/s for the exclusion?


Paragraph 64 of the exclusions guidance makes it clear that the headteacher has a duty to write to the family of an excluded young person to confirm the exclusion. When they do, they must provide a reason for the exclusion.

There is also a general responsibility in public law that a public body will give reasons for a decision that affects people, unless there is good reason not to.

The case Oakley v South Cambridgeshire District Council, which was heard in the Court of Appeal in 2017, commented on this principle. In their judgement, the court explained at paragraph 26 that:

There are powerful reasons why it is desirable for administrative bodies to give reasons for their decisions. They include improving the quality of decisions by focusing the mind of the decision-making body and thereby increasing the likelihood that the decision will be lawfully made; promoting public confidence in the decision-making process; providing, or at least facilitating, the opportunity for those affected to consider whether the decision was lawfully reached, thereby facilitating the process of judicial review or the exercise of any right of appeal; and respecting the individual's interest in understanding - and perhaps thereby more readily accepting - why a decision affecting him has been made.

The Court continued to comment on the specific importance of this principle when a person has made representations in their defence. The court stated that:

This last consideration is reinforced where an interested third party has taken an active part in the decision making-process, for example by making representations in the course of consultations. Indeed, the process of consultation is arguably undermined if potential consultees are left in the dark as to what influence, if any, their representations had.

This should provide guidance on the level of detail that the school should go into in order to have provided reasons to a satisfactory level.

Next step? 

Review the school's letter confirming the exclusion and answer the question: Did the school set out the reasons for the exclusion in sufficient reason for the family to understand them?

If the answer is no, consider using the Suggested Wording document: Argument to the governing board: Headteacher did not give reasons for the exclusion

Once you have answered this question, click continue to proceed.



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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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