6. The Governors’ Discipline Committee meeting
The governors committee which meets to review exclusions is known as the Governors’ Discipline Committee and consists of at least three governors.
If the exclusion is between six and fifteen days in a term, and the parents request a meeting, then the Governors’ Discipline Committee must meet within 50 school days.
The Governors’ Discipline Committee must always meet to consider exclusions greater than fifteen school days in a term, and all permanent exclusions. The meeting must take place between the sixth and the fifteenth school day after the governing body has been notified of the exclusion.
The role of the Governors’ Discipline Committee is to act as another ‘set of eyes’ to review the headteacher’s decision to exclude. Exclusions are very serious and the governors will review whether the exclusion has been carried out correctly and takes account of the needs of your child. They are not a rubber stamping body.
The Clerk to the Committee will write to you confirming the date and time of the meeting and send you the paperwork which will be considered at the meeting. The paperwork will include your written representation if you have submitted one. Other paperwork that may be included is:
- witness statements and your child’s version of events, if appropriate;
- a behaviour diary and academic reports;
- information on your child’s special educational needs;
- if there is an individual education plan this will include your child’s difficulties, the school’s strategies, support and reviews, and information on other services involved;
- a pastoral support programme which may include the involvement of other agencies for pupils who have been, or are at risk of being, permanently excluded;
- attendance records
- any other relevant documentation.
The following people will attend the meeting:
- the governors, one of whom will act as Chair of the Committee. The committee must be quorate (i.e. there must be a minimum of 3 governors);
- a Clerk to take notes and can advise on procedure;
- a Local Authority representative will attend permanent exclusions and exclusions of 16 days or more;
- the headteacher and/or a senior member of staff;
- the parents or carers - think about taking a friend or advocate/adviser to the meeting with you if the support would be helpful; the Local Authority can put you in touch with Parent Partnership if you think this would be useful;
- your child - unless they are very young or there are strong reasons against them attending, it is important that your child is given every opportunity to have his/her say;
- witnesses may be called to give evidence but do not normally remain for the full meeting.
The meeting will follow a clear agenda which gives everyone an opportunity to have their say. If you attend the meeting you will have an opportunity to put forward your point of view and refer to your written representation if you have done one. The agenda for the meeting will be as follows:-
- headteacher’s or nominated representative’s presentation;
- questions by the parents and governors;
- parents’ representation (a friend or representative and your child may also attend);
- questions by the headteacher and governors;
- Local Authority’s statement (for permanent exclusions);
- summing up by the school;
- summing up by the parents;
- all parties will leave the governors to discuss the information and make a decision. You will be notified of the governors’ decision within one school day.
The Governors’ Discipline Committee must consider, on a balance of probability:
- whether your child did what he/she is alleged to have done and what behaviour policies were not followed;
- whether the correct procedures were used;
- the seriousness of the incident, and the appropriateness of the length of the sanction;
- the likelihood of the incident being repeated if your child was allowed to return;
- the fairness of the exclusion in relation to any other pupils involved in the same incident;
- any relevant previous misbehaviour;
- the support provided by the school and for how long it was provided
- any special educational needs and disabilities your child may have;
- any mitigating circumstances (e.g. being bullied).
The Discipline Committee’s decision will be to:
- Uphold the exclusion if it agrees with the headteacher’s decision; or
- Allow your child to return to school* immediately or on an agreed date. (*This is officially called ‘Reinstatement’)