Independent Review Panel

Guide to Exclusion (3)

Role & Function of an IRP

If a School’s Governors uphold a pupil’s exclusion a parent has a right to have this decision reviewed. This is done via an Independent Review Panel ‘(IRP’) the authority for which is under section 7, 16 and 25 of the School Discipline (Pupil Exclusion and Reviews) (England) Regulation 2012. IRPs exist to ensure that the decision to uphold an exclusion was impartial and independent as  there occasionally existing a close relationship between a Head Teacher and the School Governors.

An IRP consists of either 3 or 5 members appointed by the local authority being either a lay member, Head Teacher, Governor of a Maintained School, member of a Pupil Referral Unit or Director of the Proprietor of an Academy. None of the members may be directly involved with the relevant excluding school. The Local Authority will also appoint a clerk to the panel who will be able to advise the parties on the relevant law and procedure for review.

The role of the IRP is to review the governing body’s decision not to reinstate a permanently excluded pupil. To do that the panel must consider the interest and circumstances of the excluded pupil including the circumstances in which the pupil was excluded. Regard must be taken to the interests of other pupils and the people working at the school.

IRPs are an assessment of the decision made at the Governor’s Disciplinary Hearing (‘GDH’). Due to that they can be shorter in length than a GDH but depend on the fact of the situation.

Powers of an IRP

An IRP has the power to:

  • Quash a Governor’s decision to exclude;
  • Recommend the Governor’s reconsider their decision to exclude;
  • Uphold the exclusion;
  • Direct the Governing Body to place a note on a pupil’s educational record; and/or
  • Order the Local Authority to make an adjustment to the school’s budget share for the funding period during which the exclusion occurs in the sum of £4,000 if, following a decision by the panel to quash the governing body’s original decision, the governing body in reconsidering the exclusion decide to not reinstate the pupil or fail to reconsider the exclusion within 10 school days

Key Points

Key things to remember about an IRP:

  • You must request an IRP within 15 days of receiving the decision from the Governor’s Disciplinary Hearing in writing and set out your grounds for why the review is sought.
  • You can make a request for an IRP even if you did not make representation to the Governor’s Disciplinary Hearing which originally heard the matter.
  • When considering the governing body’s decisions the panel should apply analysis in regards to tests of illegality, irrationality and procedural impropriety.
  • If two or more applications for review to an IRP are connected there is potential to have a combined the hearings for these reviews.
  • If you believe there to be an element of Special Educational Needs (‘SEN’) which wasn’t properly addressed at the Governor’s Disciplinary Hearing you are able to appoint a SEN Expert for the IRP which must be made in writing to the Local Authority at the same time as you request a review.