The government's drive to improve standards in English schools has been reinforced with a move to give head teachers greater power when it comes to excluding disruptive pupils.
New rules will come into effect from September in all academies, maintained schools and pupil referral units (PRUs) that prevent excluded pupils from winning the right to return to school after being expelled.
Head teachers frequently have their decision to exclude disruptive pupils overturned by the appeals panel, but under the new legislation this will not happen, providing that the decision to exclude was fair, legal and reasonable.
Schools minister Nick Gibb said that improving behaviour in schools was core to the government's education policy and this move would help raise academic achievement by ensuring the exclusion of pupils who disrupt the learning of others.
"Restoring the authority of teachers and head teachers is an important part of the objective of raising standards of behaviour in schools," he stated.
Mr Gibb commented that the new rules would prevent the authority of teaching staff being undermined by the appeals process while helping the government meet its objective of improving behaviour in schools.
"These new rules preserve the right to have a decision to expel a child reviewed by an independent panel but take away the power to force the return of the pupil to the school," he added.
In a bid to protect the interest of special educational needs (SEN) pupils, the new system will require the independent review panels to employ an SEN expert to provide advice.
Schools will also be made to pay £4,000 to help fund for the alternative education provisions necessary for any child they exclude and refuse to accept back.
During the 2009/10 academic year, a total of 5,740 expulsions occurred in England, with a further 331,380 suspensions.
Posted by Charlotte Michaels