As the name suggests, an Independent Review Panel consists of a group of people chosen for their total independence who will be able to examine the circumstances of your child's exclusion with complete objectivity. Every IRP is composed of between three and five people, including:
- one or two people who either currently work as head teachers or have done so within the past five years
- one or two people who either currently work as school governors or who have done so for a minimum of one full year within the past five years (they must not have also worked as teachers or head teachers within this same period)
- a chairperson who must be an independent person who has never been employed by a school in any capacity
As well as these panel members, a clerk must also be present. It is the clerk's job to provide counsel to the panel on appropriate legislation, the relevant legal guidance concerning permanent exclusions and appropriate review procedure. It is not part of the clerk's remit, however, to contribute to the actual decision-making process.
What exactly does the panel do?
It is the role of panel to review the specifics of your child's case, particularly with regard to the circumstances surrounding their exclusion. They will look into the interests not only of your child, but also other pupils and members of school staff.
Once they have reviewed all the relevant facts surrounding your child's case, the IRP has the power to:
- agree with the school and governing body's decision concerning your child's exclusion
- recommend to the governing body that their decision is reconsidered
- quash the decision entirely and inform the governing body that they must reconsider their decision in light of public law principles
NB: the IRP cannot reinstate a child to school
How does the IRP arrive at their decision?
The review will consist of the IRP looking at the following areas concerning your child's exclusion:
- the legal aspect: they make sure that your child's head teacher and the governing body acted within legal parameters
- the rational aspect: they ascertain that the decision made was a rational one that may have been reached by any reasonable person and will look into the facts and evidence presented
- procedural propriety: they make sure that the decision to exclude was reached fairly and accurately and according to official procedures
How can Match Solicitors be of assistance?
We know that preparing for an IRP can be a difficult and even intimidating process. Over the years we have helped many hundreds of parents to gather and submit their written representations and all of the relevant supporting evidence with their application, as well as representing them throughout the entire process and ultimately helping them achieve the best possible result for their child.
If your child is facing permanent exclusion and you are taking your case to an IRP, give us a call today and one of our experienced education lawyers will be happy to discuss your situation with you in confidence.