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Appealing against Permanent Exclusion

(136 Posts)
McTemp Thu 07-Jul-11 15:16:29

Would love to pick some brains out there! A friend of mine has a daughter in Year 8 who has just been permanently excluded, and this exclusion has been upheld by the Governing body. Parents want to appeal this decision.

The reason given for the exclusion was "persistent distruptive behaviour", and they outlined a number of examples of this.

While parent doesn't dispute most of these took place, it is clear that this is a very high achieving school, and her daughter struggles academically (School Action Plus for dyslexia), and I think the school are keen to get rid of the child, as her grades affect their results.

The child in question is also deaf in one ear, and parents would like to appeal because they don't believe their daughters disabilities have been taken into account. The decision letter states:

"staff received training how to deal with deafness on an annual basis, but accepted that perhaps not all teachers were aware of X's hearing loss."

Parents believe that the child's misbehaviour in class arose because of her disability as it was likely that she couldn’t hear instructions given to her and was placed in the back of the class when she should have been at the front.

Has anyone got advice about what the exclusion appeal process is like, and what sort of things parents might need to prove?

McTemp Thu 07-Jul-11 16:56:13


Marjoriew Thu 07-Jul-11 18:00:33

So how does being deaf in one ear make a child disruptive to the point of being permanently excluded?
And when does the child become accountable for her behaviour?
I had to take my grandson out of his local school and HE him because there were disruptive children in his class.

noblegiraffe Thu 07-Jul-11 18:19:37

It's quite difficult to get a kid permanently excluded in my experience - she must have been pretty bad, especially if only in Y8.

grumpypants Thu 07-Jul-11 18:22:47

is it an academy or an la school? Google ACE, and follow the links to the appeal booklets. Dig out all of the reports from medical professionals etc and see if the strategies advised were followed in school. Ask for the behaviour policy, read the exclusions guidance (on the dfe website), and ask for an independent appeal panel to be convened.

grumpypants Thu 07-Jul-11 18:23:21

That's not an exhaustive list - just a starting point.

Goblinchild Thu 07-Jul-11 18:30:24

Whilst agreeing that to be permanently excluded in Y8 is fairly drastic, and that there must be other children in the school whose learning disabilities bring down the results who are not excluded, and that all children have the right to an education...
I'd be looking at the needs that she had that were identified to the school and by the school, the support the school put in place to meet her needs, what happened after the first, second, twentieth incident of severe disruptive behaviour and what strategies the school tried to respond to the disruptive behaviour and why they were ineffective.
I'd have copies of all communications relevant to the sequence of events and be able to trace the path that led to the exclusion.
As the parent, you'd be trying to show that despite your support and involvement, the school had not done all things possible within their power to prevent what has now happened. You'd need specific examples and what could have been done in your opinion, rather than a general rant.
The school will be trying to show that they've done everything possible, adapted and supported, given her and you lots of opportunities to turn around her behaviour and that despite their best efforts, failure has been the outcome and they are left with no alternative but to permanently exclude.

Goblinchild Thu 07-Jul-11 18:32:00

Yes, I've now realised that she's not your DD, but I'm usually woffling on the sn boards to a parent. blush

tethersend Thu 07-Jul-11 18:38:35

How many days' fixed term exclusion had she had before being permanently excluded?

Has she had a Pastoral Support Plan?

maypole1 Thu 07-Jul-11 19:56:05

Yes being deaf in one ear is a bloody red herring my sone has global development delay and a poor working memory and has not once been in trouble at school shes only been i shook for 2 years this wouldn't be their first step, and I can imagine being a high achieving school they will not tolerate any more Tom foolery and that's as it should be if I were your "friend" I would get to a parenting class get some firm rules in place and start
A fresh

Disruptive children is why so many good teachers leave and why so many bright students can't learn.

And the shame of it is I bet that is a over sebcribed School and Children who parents would sell their soul to get tin who would bloody behave

Goblinchild Thu 07-Jul-11 19:59:28

I think you missed the point of the OP maypole.
As someone whose son was given a few fixed-term exclusions, I can assure you that it sometimes really isn't down to parenting.

maypole1 Thu 07-Jul-11 20:09:24

Well somethings not righted I don't buy for a moment its to do with being deaf in one ear.

Personally I send my child to learn and as a parent I don't want any disruptive children in my child's class, if a child can't behave and a parent can't or won't sort their child out then what choice do the school have

Sorry but to many good teachers feel they can't carry on because some peoples children ate wild.

You cannot sacrifice 30 children's education for 1 wild child if they tried everything then the child has to the shock might make her behave in the next school

Goblinchild Thu 07-Jul-11 20:14:55

That's why the parent needs to be very honest about what has happened and look to the causes. Otherwise the problem rolls along to another school and becomes an issue there. Why not try and work out what's going so wrong in this child's education and try and fix it? Better for everyone.

ontheroadagain Thu 07-Jul-11 21:23:17

You cant put all the blame on parents when there child is excluded from school my child has ADHD, Autism and Dyspraxia and anxiety disorder. When he was going to high school we told LA he would not manage a mainstream high school as it would be too busy a place for him and the staff would not have the expertise to deal with his problems.The LA refused to let him go to a special so he went to mainstream were the staff had not a clue about how to meet his needs. He was permantely excluded. He is now in a special school and doing really well.

noblegiraffe Thu 07-Jul-11 21:42:49

ADHD, autism and dyspraxia are very different, IMO from hearing loss and dyslexia and might well lead to behavioural problems. I teach many students with dyslexia and behaviour-wise they don't stand out. The couple I have taught with hearing problems have been absolutely fine. Once I did a new seating plan which sat a girl with hearing loss at the back - she just reminded me and I moved her.

Blaming poor behaviour on hearing loss seems a bit of a stretch to me,

youarekidding Thu 07-Jul-11 22:02:33

Hearing loss and dyslexia aren't the reasons for bad behaviour but if the child is not recieving support and had self esteem issues or similar they could be the reason.

They all stem from the same thing.

I agree with needing the whole file of information which should be available under the FOI act.

bubblesincoffee Thu 07-Jul-11 22:06:50

By year 8, you would think the child would be able to tell teachers herslef that she had a hearing problem. Or at least be able to tell her parents who had been at the back of a class one day so that they could contact the school and resolve the problem. That should take a couple of days at the most. Have the parents been in contact with the school to resolve any problems?

If she couldn't hear instructions, she could ask, or stay quiet, I don't know how you make the leap from not being able to hear instructions to being disruptive.

I don't think any appeal should be upheld, but if the parents are determind to do it, I would agree that ACE are a good place to start.

noblegiraffe Thu 07-Jul-11 22:08:38

If not all teachers were aware of her hearing loss and being sat at the back caused behaviour issues, how was she in the lessons where teachers were aware and she was sat at the front?

cory Fri 08-Jul-11 09:13:41

I'm not sure the hearing loss is such a red herring. I've known some deaf children struggle socially and behaviour-wise; it does seem to affect social development in a way that sight or mobility loss does not. If the OP had said "loss of mobility" then I'd have been right in there with "how can that possibly affect behaviour?" But because it is hearing, I can just about believe it. Just my experience. From other children, no hearing loss in my family.

Also, you could easily get into trouble with some teachers for not realising an instruction had been given: if you don't know that the teacher just told you something, it is hard to ask her to repeat it. And some teachers would see not moving when told as disruptive. There are even teachers who take an explanation as cheek: dd usually gets on very well with hers, but she has come across the odd one who has a tendency to disbelieve the teen explaining that they can't do x due to disability: they are so used to the idea that teens are obstructive that they automatically disbelieve them. And then carrying on trying to explain registers as talking back. And if you have difficulties modulating your voice, due to hearing loss, you could easily "sound" like your archetypal rude teen.

Contacting the school doesn't necessarily solve the problem: dd's junior school never passed on any information about her condition to the people who would actually be teaching her.

Marjoriew Fri 08-Jul-11 09:31:32

The OP states that there were 'several examples' of disruptive behaviour before the permanent exclusion. Why didn't the girl's parents step in then before the situation escalated to the point where there was a permanent exclusion?

tethersend Fri 08-Jul-11 10:00:01

It is far more likely that a hearing difficulty would contribute to 'disruptive behaviour' by creating a disengagement with education, rather than in a literal sense of not following instruction.

Many children with SEN become very frustrated very early on in their education, and effectively 'switch off' from learning, often masking difficulties with challenging or disruptive behaviour so as not to be embarrassed by the gap between their own and their peers' achievement.

However, all of this is academic if the school has not followed the correct procedures- which is why I want to know the amount of time spent on fixed-term exclusion and if the child in question has ever had a PSP.

admission Fri 08-Jul-11 12:36:37

I think that the parents have to make decisions based around what the independant appeal panel can and cannot do and what they will base decisions on.

Persistance disruptive behaviour is quite common as the reason for permanent exclusion and the first thing the panel is going to do is consider the nature and number of these incidents. What should flow from these incidents is a serious of fixed term exclusions and at some stage letters confirming that the pupils is in danger of permanent exclusion if they continue. It is not necessary for there to be a final serious offence just an offence that literally broke the camel's back and the school said enough is enough.

The school has to come to the appeal and justify the decision reached with appropriate written evidence. Without the evidence base the school will struggle to convince the panel that the permanent exclusion was justified. I would expect the school to be able to back up their decision with appropriate evidence.

The other part of the decision that the panel will come to is whether the school has taken all appropriate measures to try and overcome the pupil's special needs. If the pupil is at school action plus this should be well documented. The training of staff would go a fair way towards this but the the school have shot themselves in the foot by saying that possibly not all teachers were aware of it and by not taking the obvious measure of not having this pupil at the front of the class.

This is not a get out of jail free card as far as the permanent exclusion is concerned and the parents and school will both need to argue the respective cases of why the deafness did or did not contribute to the bad behaviour.

The panel will consist of a lay Chair, a headteacher and a school governor and they will not lightly make a decision to reinstate the pupil unless they absolutely believe that the school, have not taken appropriate measures to keep this pupil in school or that the level of misbehaviour did not justify permanent exclusion. A few years ago the Panel would have had to reinstate for procedural problems but this has not been the case for a few years and much of the retteric from Mr Gove on school discipline / IAPs is based on out of date and wrong information. The vast majority of cases that go to IAP are not overturned.

If you want to PM I am happy to talk further about specifics if you want.

Domesticbodess Fri 08-Jul-11 12:45:08

School clearly don't want her and if parents feel she has not been catered for, the obvious solution is to have a fresh start elsewhere.

McTemp Fri 08-Jul-11 13:03:49

Thank you all for the constuctive help and suggestions. Whilst the girl is no angel, I have spent enough time working in schools to know that I strongly believe the school is at fault here and have not exhaused all (or hardly any!) avenues.

She has had one fixed term exclusion previously, for two days. Parents don't seem to believe they have ever received any contact from the school re: pastoral support plan etc, but unfortunately neither of them can read/write english at more than a very basic level (settled travellers), and its very possible that have received something. The parents have never once (to my knowledge) been invited into the school, and I would have thought that discussion with the parents was a key step before even considering exclusion.

I'll take a look at the ACE website now, many thanks.

McTemp Fri 08-Jul-11 13:19:23

The school took the girls case to the LEA 'intervention panel' on a monday - where LEA professionals discussed the girl, and came to the conclusion she should be referred to CAHMS, and another of other support services. They then excluded her three days later, before any of this support was put in place, and thats what angers me. The Governing body said the school has exhausted all avenues with the girl, but its clear from the LEA meeting on the monday that there were other things that could be tried.

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