Insights / News
Insights / News
The case concerned A Pupil, who had been permanently excluded from a maintained school for sending obscene images of a sexual nature to a younger female pupil from his mobile phone. This was against a background whereby the female pupil had made disclosures alleging serious sexual misconduct towards her by a number of pupils, including A Pupil, which had been referred to the police for investigation. The Head Teacher’s decision to exclude had initially been upheld by the school’s governing body. A Pupil’s parent then exercised her right of appeal to an Independent Review Panel (‘IRP’). The result of the appeal was that the IRP recommended that the governing body review its decision – but did not exercise its stronger power to quash the decision, applying judicial review principles, and direct a reconsideration. The matter then went back to the governing body, who performed a reconsideration, the result of which was to confirm its original decision to uphold the permanent exclusion. A Pupil’s parent then judicially reviewed that decision.
The case was understood by the parties to be the first detailed consideration of the school exclusion regime applicable to mainstream schools, academies, and PRUs, in England since the case of R(CR) v Independent Review Panel of the London Borough of Lambeth  EWHC 2461 (Admin) (in which Alex acted for the Claimant). Furthermore, to the knowledge of the parties, it is the first reported decision concerning a judicial review of a governing body’s decision following a recommendation or direction from an IRP for a reconsideration to occur. Aside from the fact that it is a recent judicial consideration of the legal regime relating to school exclusions, the case is of importance to school governors, IRP panel members, local authorities, clerks advising IRPs, and lawyers advising in the area of school exclusions because:
The case also gave rise to interesting arguments concerning the nature of a governing body’s powers when performing a reconsideration because, by the time of the reconsideration in this case, A Pupil was too old to be attend the school, making reinstatement impracticable. However, because the claim was dismissed, the Court did not consider it necessary to reach a conclusion in relation to the same.
A copy of the Court’s decision can be found here: A PARENT (R on the application of) v GOVERNING BODY OF XYZ SCHOOL – Find case law (nationalarchives.gov.uk)
Alex Line specialises in the areas of employment and education law. He has extensive employment and discrimination law experience, having practised in these areas throughout his career at the Bar. He has a broad range of experience in education law matters, with particular expertise in the law relating to special educational needs. He is also well placed to assist with public law cases affecting these and associated areas. Alex has a busy advisory and advocacy practice, regularly appearing in the Employment Tribunal, County Court and the First-Tier Tribunal. He also has High Court, Employment Appeal Tribunal, Upper Tribunal, and Court of Appeal experience. He has been appointed to the Attorney General’s panel of counsel to the Crown (C Panel) and the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s panel of counsel (B Panel).