Was the exclusion proportionate?

Was the exclusion proportionate?


According to the principles of public law, a punishment must be proportionate to the behavioural infraction. In addition, the benefit brought to the school must not be outweighed by the personal impact that will be experienced by the young person. Ensuring that the exclusion is proportionate is a specific requirement of the exclusions guidance, which states in paragraph 2:

A pupil’s behaviour outside school can be considered grounds for a suspension or permanent exclusion. Any decision of a headteacher, including suspension or permanent exclusion, must be made in line with the principles of administrative law, i.e. that it is: lawful (with respect to the legislation relating directly to suspensions and permanent exclusions and a school’s wider legal duties); reasonable; fair; and proportionate.

Consider the impact the exclusion will have on the young person. It may be worth speaking to them about their feelings and thinking about the logistical difficulties that exclusion will bring. Consider if they will miss any exams or whether they will have to abandon extracurricular activities. Think about the young person's age - It is very difficult for permanently excluded students in their GCSE years to get back into mainstream school, meaning they are likely to sit their GCSEs in alternative provision. Research reveals that only 4% of excluded pupils pass GCSE English and math, compared with 64% in mainstream.

Next step? 

Answer the question: Is the impact of the exclusion proportionate to the behavioural infractions and proportionate to the benefit that the school hopes to gain through exclusion?

If the answer is no, consider using the Suggested Wording document: Argument to the governing board: Exclusion is disproportionate



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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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