First Tier Tribunal

Guide to Exclusion (4)

Role & Function of a FTT

If you believe there is an element of discrimination involved with your child’s permanent exclusion you are able to bring a claim to a First-Tier Disability Discrimination Tribunal (FTT) at any time from the date of exclusion.

The Equality Act 2010 defines discrimination as treating someone less favourably then you would treat others due to a protected characteristic.

Protected characteristics are:

  • Age
  • Disability
  • Gender Reassignment
  • Marriage or Civil Partnership
  • Pregnancy and maternity
  • Race
  • Religion or belief
  • Sex
  • Sexual Orientation

While the discrimination needs to be in relation to the decision to exclude in some instances a comment in respect of a protected characteristic is enough.

FT claims exist so as to ensure that decisions to permanently excluded disabled children are not done as a result of conduct directly related to their disability. It also is to ensure that prejudices of Head Teachers are not influencing their decision to exclude.

When there is an element of Special Educational Needs involved with a child a school has a duty to make reasonable adjustments to procedures in place to allow for that child’s education. This can include such matters as disregarding behaviour in direct consequence of their disability. What is vital is to distinguish is if the decision to exclude a disabled pupil for behaviour which arises as a consequence of their disability is unlawful disability discrimination unless the choice to exclude was a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate ends. Proportionate means it was the least extreme option available.

Key Things To Remember About a FT Claim

  • Claims to a FT must be made within six months of the alleged discrimination.
  • The Tribunal has the power to make any remedy to counter-act the alleged discrimination including reinstatement though is not able to award financial remedies.
  • Like Independent Review Panels, claims to a FT must be made in writing.
  • You can bring a FT discrimination claim at any time during your appeal of the decision to exclude. Your decision to do so cannot affect the decisions of any Governor’s Disciplinary Hearing or Independent Review Panel.
  • FT hearings take a large amount of preparation time and the actual hearing can take all day due to the serious nature of the allegation.

The full guidance can be viewed here.