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.
An IRP has the power to:
Key things to remember about an IRP: