This Factsheet is about complaints about school exclusions. It should be read together with our ‘How to Complain’ webpage, available on the ‘Making A Complaint’ tab.
Decisions to exclude a pupil from school are taken by the headteacher and reviewed by the school governors. If the decision is upheld, and the exclusion is permanent, you have the right to appeal to an independent appeal panel. If the panel upholds the exclusion, the local council, as Local Education Authority (LEA), must ensure that the pupil receives suitable alternative education.
The Ombudsman can look at the way in which the panel dealt with your appeal. This could include:
The Ombudsman can also look at the way in which the LEA dealt with you subsequently. This could include:
The Ombudsman will usually expect you to have made representations against the exclusion to the governors before making a complaint to him. However, you may not always have the right to put your case in person to the governors.
You do not have the right to appeal to an independent appeal panel in the case of a fixed-term exclusion.
If we find something wrong with the way in which the panel dealt with your appeal we may ask for a fresh panel to rehear your appeal.
If the LEA was at fault in some way, we may ask it to make up for any shortfall in the provision of alternative education.
The guidance document “Exclusion from Schools and Pupil Referral Units”, issued in 2012 can be found at:
Other useful information can be found in the education section of the Welsh Assembly Government website – www.wales.gov.uk
You can also obtain information, advice and support from Snap Cymru – www.snapcymru.org
The Ombudsman is independent and impartial; he cannot order public bodies to do what he recommends – but, in practice, they almost always do. Examples of cases that the Ombudsman has looked at can be found on our website, on the ‘Publications’ tab under ‘Our Findings’ & ‘The Ombudsman’s Casebook’.