Independent review panels - exclusions

If you are preparing a submission to an IRP, Tees experiences education solicitors can help you manage the process

Gabriella Cox, Chelmsford
Gabrielola Cox, Trainee Solicitor Tees Law

What is an independent review panel?

An independent review panel (IRP) is a group of people brought together for the purpose of reviewing the decision of the school’s governors to uphold an exclusion from a state-maintained school. It is not for them to review the original decision by the headteacher (which is what the school governors do), rather to check the overall process was followed fairly and the criteria correctly applied. They also make sure that the hearing itself follows processes that are fair. The process comprises both sides being able to submit written evidence and ask questions of the other side.

Our services

Managing your way through processes that you are not familiar with is daunting, especially when the welfare of your child is in question. Our education lawyers specialise in helping you through it.

We will: 

  • help you to prepare your written submissions to the IRP including outlining the grounds for your request for a review of their decision
  • make sure it is submitted correctly and within the time limit, or 
  • advise whether you should have other professionals alongside you, for example, an SEN specialist who knows your child
  • reviewing the bundle of documents from the IRP that you must receive at least five days before the hearing
  • be there with you on the day when you attend the hearing to help you know what to do and say
  • advise on your next steps after the outcome of the review – it is possible to bring a discrimination claim in the First Tier Tribunal or County Court, or a claim for judicial review.

Independent review panel time limits

The statutory guidance on exclusions states that any request from families for a review of a school’s governors’ decision to exclude, must be received within 15 school days of the date the family was notified of their decision. In practice, it’s often the case that delays are allowed to give people more time to prepare.

Who sits on an Independent review panel?

  • None of the people must have a connection either to the school or the family
  • One person must have been a headteacher within the past five years, or currently is
  • One person must have been a school governor within the past five years, or currently is
  • The chairperson must be someone who has never been a paid member of staff at any school.
  • In addition, the IRP will choose one person to be the clerk, who will be independent of everyone.  Their job is to run the panel, collecting evidence and pulling together the written information for everyone to see.

We’re here to help

You’ll find our team of education lawyers friendly and easy to talk to and we understand the ins-and-outs of education law. 

Our education law team is based in:

Cambridgeshire: Cambridge

Essex: BrentwoodChelmsford, and Saffron Walden

Hertfordshire: Bishop's Stortford and Royston 

But we can help you wherever you are in England and Wales.

Call our specialist solicitors on 0808 231 1320

Make an enquiry today

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