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The decision to exclude a pupil is made in response to serious breaches of a school behaviour policy and where allowing the pupil to remain in school would seriously harm the education or welfare of the pupil or others in the school.
Only the headteacher or teacher in charge of a pupil referral unit (or, in the absence of the headteacher or teacher in charge, the most senior teacher who is acting in that role) has authority to exclude a pupil from school.
The Department for Education (DfE) produces the guidance for the process of exclusion. This guidance confirms that headteachers, teachers in charge of pupil referral units, Governing Bodies, Local Authorities, Principals, Academy Trusts, Special Educational Needs Experts and Independent Review Panels must, by law, have regard to the guidance when making and administering decisions on exclusion.
The DfE issued revised guidance about exclusion in September 2012 and this replaces the September 2008 edition:
Exclusion from maintained schools, Academies and pupil referral units in England
(A guide for those with legal responsibilities in relation to exclusion.)
The Sixth day of exclusion: guidance for Local Authorities.
There are a number of minor changes to the new exclusion guidance but the main change is that Independent Appeal Panels have been replaced by Independent Review Panels. Independent Review Panels have the power to uphold the exclusion, recommend that governors look at the case again or quash the exclusion and direct the governors to reconsider the case with a stipulation that if governors do not reinstate, the school will be subject to a charge of £4,000.