Has the headteacher undertaken a fair investigation of the facts?

Has the headteacher undertaken a fair investigation of the facts?


Fairness in public law requires that the parties are treated equally, and there is a general concept in law that, where a person is accused of something, their defence is fairly heard. In addition, reasonableness in public law requires a headteacher to account for relevant information before deciding to exclude someone. If a headteacher fails to account for the young person's side of the story, this may be grounds to consider that the decision to exclude them has been unreasonable.

Paragraph 4 of the exclusions guidance states the following:

Headteachers should also take the pupil’s views into account, considering these in light of their age and understanding, before deciding to exclude, unless it would not be appropriate to do so. They should inform the pupil about how their views have been factored into any decision made. Where relevant, the pupil should be given support to express their view, including through advocates such as parents or, if the pupil has one, a social worker.

Consider the panel pack and see if the school took a statement from the excluded young person. Speak to the young person to see if they were able to tell their side of the story to the school.

Next step? 

Answer the question: Has the headteacher given the excluded young person an opportunity to provide their side of the story and taken this information into account when deciding whether to exclude?

If the answer is no, consider using the Suggested Wording document: Argument to the governing board: School failed to conduct a fair investigation

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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