Schools have a duty under the Equality Act 2010 not to discriminate against pupils on the basis of protected characteristics, such as disability or race, including in all stages of the exclusion process.
Parents can raise this issue during the exclusion consideration meeting with the governing board.
If the governing board decides not to reinstate the pupil who has been permanently excluded, parents can request an independent review panel to review the governing board’s decision. When making their request parents can ask for a special educational needs (SEN) expert to attend the hearing to advise the panel on how SEN might be relevant to the exclusion. Parents can request this even if their child has not been officially recognised as having SEN.
If a parent believes that their child has been discriminated against in the exclusion process because of a disability, then they may also make a claim to the first-tier tribunal (special educational needs and disability) within six months of the exclusion.
The tribunal can consider claims about permanent and fixed-period exclusions. For permanent exclusions, this can be done instead of, or in addition to, an independent review panel.
If the parent believes that a permanent or fixed period exclusion occurred as a result of discrimination other than in relation to disability (e.g. in relation to race) they can make a claim to the county court.