The School Discipline (Pupil Exclusions and Reviews) (England) (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2021 (the Regulations) are due to come into force on 25 March 2021.
The Regulations take account of the Covid-19 pandemic and alter the pupil exclusion regime. The main alteration to be highlighted is the extension of the date by which an exclusion must have taken place to be considered a ‘relevant exclusion’. The date, which was previously 25 March 2021, will be extended to 25 September 2021.
Where there is a ‘relevant exclusion’, provided certain conditions are met, meetings convened by the governing body, independent review panel and (where relevant) proprietors to consider permanent and fixed term exclusions may be held by remote access. This includes holding the meeting via live audio and live video link, where Covid-19 means it is not reasonably practicable for the meeting to be held in person.
Accordingly, meetings can continue to be held remotely where necessary in respect of exclusions up to 25 September 2021, ensuring that the enhanced flexibility which has been granted to governing bodies and independent review panels will continue whilst the country adapts to the changing response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The amendments brought in by the Regulations will be formally introduced from 25 March 2021. They will then be kept under review until 24 September 2021.