Student Behaviour and Exclusions Policy

1. Statement

2. Aim

3. Related policies and legislation

4. Responsibility: whole-school approach

5. Safeguarding and SEND

6. Promoting good behaviour and rewards

7. Code of Conduct

8. Dress code

9. Improving behaviour and sanctions

10. GCSE rules

11. Disciplinary procedure

12. Confiscation and use of restraint

13. Records

Appendix A: Disciplinary investigation procedure

1. Statement

Ashbourne promotes a culture of mutual respect, tolerance and collaboration between all members of the College community. This reflects the adult-style learning environment, high-quality teaching and individual support the College offers to enable each student to reach their potential and take the right academic pathway that will lead towards a fulfilling and successful future. Ashbourne expects all of its students to show the maturity, commitment and drive required to excel in this environment.

The College celebrates students’ successes, rewards their efforts and offers guidance and support to overcome difficulties they may experience. Ultimately, this encourages students to take responsibility for their own behaviour, their own success and the consequences that result from their choices. As part of the community, therefore, the College expects all students to respect and comply with the values and standards set out in this policy.

Ashbourne has a zero-tolerance approach to sexual harassment and sexual violence, bullying in any form and racist and sexist behaviour and abuse, including where this behaviour takes place online. Students are encouraged and supported to report any concerns or experiences, however small they may feel they are, as soon as possible to a trusted member of staff or the Designated Safeguarding Lead so that appropriate and timely action can be taken and support offered. For further information refer to the College’s Child Protection and Safeguarding Policy, Peer-on-Peer Abuse Policy and Anti-bullying Policy.

The College also expects members of the community to make all efforts necessary to help reduce the spread of COVID-19, in line with government guidance and the College’s COVID-19 Response Policy.

Ashbourne expects all students to be punctual and to maintain an outstanding attendance record (more than 95%). Attendance is continually monitored, as required by law, and students failing to meet these expectations will face sanctions. For more detailed information please refer to the Attendance Policy.

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2. Aim

The aim of this policy is to set out the attitude to learning the College expects, the rewards offered to motivate students and the code of conduct necessary to enable every student to feel safe and confident in their learning environment. It also sets out what may constitute breaches of expected behaviour and outlines the procedures in place to manage behaviour improvement and sanctions for misconduct.

3. Related policies and legislation

3.1 Related College policies

3.2 Relevant legislation

  • Behaviour and Discipline in Schools (2016)
  • Equality Act (2010)
  • Keeping Children Safe in Education (2021)
  • Searching, screening and confiscation at school (2018)
  • Use of reasonable force in schools (2013)
  • Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Code of Practice (2015)

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4. Responsibility: whole-school approach

Student welfare and wellbeing is vital to personal happiness, development and academic success. Ashbourne provides a great deal of individual attention to each student throughout their time at the College and from the outset encourages and nurtures healthy relationships and behaviour.

Ashbourne provides a comprehensive academic and pastoral support network for all students comprising teachers, personal tutors, senior leaders, designated safeguarding leads and SEND support. The student council also plays a role in representing and voicing students’ rights and responsibilities. This support network is designed to create open communication channels so that behavioural issues and concerns can be identified early and addressed in a timely and appropriate way. The value of positive behaviour and healthy relationships is further reinforced through the compulsory PSHEE and Personal Tutor programmes.

5. Safeguarding and SEND

5.1 Safeguarding and student welfare and wellbeing

Safeguarding is a priority at the College so any student behavioural issue or concern will always be considered from this standpoint. This enables the College to identify and manage possible concerns early, as well as unmet educational or other needs. All safeguarding concerns are dealt with in accordance with the College’s Child Protection and Safeguarding Policy and Procedures and may involve external agencies. All staff are trained and regularly briefed on keeping children safe in education.

5.2 SEND

Students with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) are supported by our Designated Safeguarding Lead and SEND team. This support team will liaise with and advise teachers and other members of staff on how to manage behavioural issues and offer support for students to help them cope with similar situations in future. Please refer to the SEND and Access Arrangements Policy.

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6. Promoting good behaviour and rewards

Ashbourne encourages students to set and maintain the highest standards of behaviour, which include full attendance and completing all set work to the best of their ability and within the given deadlines.

6.1 Student Council

Students have the opportunity to be elected or chosen as leaders for their year group to Ashbourne’s Student Council, where they will be expected to lead by example and play a key role in supporting their fellow students to create a culture of responsibility.

Each member of the Student Council will be allocated a key role throughout the year, to develop their leadership and management skills, in addition to representing the College and taking part in events such as parents evenings, open evenings, arts and audition events.

6.2 Awards

Ashbourne holds Autumn and Spring Honour Rolls to award students selected for their outstanding academic performance also taking into consideration attendance, work ethic and wider contribution to the College. At the end-of-year celebrations Ashbourne also holds the Annual Awards for Y13 students. Gold, Silver and Bronze awards will be given out for exceptional academic performance in subjects across the eight faculties.

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7. Code of Conduct

It is important to establish certain ground rules to ensure good order and to create a pleasant, respectful and safe environment for both staff and students. There are four core and compulsory rules concerning academic matters at Ashbourne; students must:

  1. Attend all classes on time
  2. Submit all assigned work promptly and to the best of their ability
  3. Show full commitment to their studies
  4. Respect fellow students and staff

The Code of Conduct and expected behaviour set out in this policy shall also apply, in appropriate circumstances, to students when they are away from College premises and outside the jurisdiction of the College, for example during half term and in the holidays. Any student’s conduct which affects the welfare of a member or members of the College community or which could bring the College into disrepute is a matter for College discipline.

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8. Dress code

Ashbourne encourages students to be confident and independent so they are well prepared for the next stages of their academic and professional lives. This includes how they dress, which is why there is no formal dress code at the College. Students are expected to establish a careful balance between personal expression and suitability in choosing what to wear in a learning and working environment. This means wearing attire that is appropriate for such environments whenever students are on College premises, field trips, work placements or at other events and activities where they are seen to be representing the College.

As opinions and tastes vary so widely, and to avoid students being sent home to change, below is a short, but not exhaustive, guide to what the College constitutes as inappropriate attire for a learning and working environment:

  • Tops that are bra-tops, strapless, backless or very low cut.
  • Shirts fully open that expose the chest.
  • Visible underwear or swimwear, including under see-through clothing.
  • Very short skirts or shorts (skirts and shorts should reach at least mid-thigh).
  • Clothing, accessories and/or tattoos that display language, slogans or images that the College deems inappropriate, e.g. relating to sexual connotations, drugs, swearing, abuse and/or political messaging.
  • Hats and hoods worn in the classroom.
  • Footwear that impedes mobility and/or fails to provide adequate protection (and so poses a health and safety risk) such as excessively high heels and/or flip flops.

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9. Improving behaviour and sanctions

9.1 Improving behaviour

The College understands that everyone makes mistakes and so supports students to recognise, improve and/or rectify their behaviour if it falls short of the code of conduct or expected behaviour. This may involve students taking time out of classes (temporary removal from classes) until they catch up with required work, attending Homework Saturdays, engaging in discussions to examine the impact of their behaviour and/or agreeing steps and targets to improve behaviour.

9.1.1 Neutral suspension (a temporary removal from classes)

Students may be required to take time out of classes for the following reasons:

  1. One-off instances of poor behaviour, including failure to comply with the code of conduct.
  2. During a disciplinary investigation into behaviour.
  3. Fees failing into arrears.

Neutral suspension or temporary removal from classes aims to encourage students to reflect on their behaviour, complete outstanding work to an acceptable standard and set goals to enable them to better comply with the Code of Conduct and expected behaviour.

It may involve students being asked to leave class for disruption, failure to complete assigned homework or other behavioural issues and sent to the library to complete their work under supervision for the day.

Students may also be required to attend a Homework Saturday to catch up on work or to recompense for poor behaviour in the classroom.

Neutral suspensions (a temporary removal from class) will not be recorded on students’ academic records. However, disciplinary action may be taken subsequently if there is no improvement in behaviour or if students are found to have made serious breaches of expected behaviour.

9.2 Sanctions

Failure to improve behaviour following a temporary removal from class and/or serious breaches of expected behaviour will trigger a disciplinary meeting that will go on students’ academic record and may result in formal suspension or permanent exclusion, depending on the nature, severity and repeated occurrence of the breach.

9.2.1 Formal suspension

If a student is formally suspended their parents and/or guardians will be informed by telephone or email detailing the circumstances of the suspension and conditions of re-entry to the College. Formal suspension can only be issued following consultation with the Director of Studies. Formal suspensions will be recorded and held on the student’s academic record.

Students may be formally suspended for a fixed period for repeated, persistent misconduct, which includes failure to complete work to an acceptable standard and in a timely fashion, as well as more serious one-off incidents. These suspensions can vary in duration – from one afternoon to two weeks, for example; but not exceeding more than 45 school days in any one school year – depending on the nature and severity of the misconduct. Formal suspensions may precede a permanent exclusion if behaviour does not improve after the period of reflection and redress.

9.2.2 Permanent exclusion

Exclusion is usually the very last resort for sanctions and not a decision the Principal will take lightly. However, for very serious, harmful or persistent misconduct students may be permanently excluded from the College.

Permanent exclusion would typically occur following a disciplinary investigation and meeting with the student and their parents and/or guardians. However, there are exceptional circumstances where the Principal may decide to permanently exclude a student for a ‘one-off’ offence including, but not limited to, serious physical assault, gross insubordination, possession of illegal substances or weapons, and action that seriously compromises the safety of any other member of the Ashbourne community.

9.2.3 Appeals

Students and their parents and/or guardians have the right to appeal against formal suspensions and permanent exclusion. If an appeal is requested, the parents and/or guardians will be invited to a provisional meeting with a member of the Senior Leadership Team to discuss the request and set an appeal meeting should they decide to pursue the matter.

Appeals will only be considered on the grounds that the College’s decision to impose sanctions for misconduct was potentially flawed.

9.3 Breaches of expected behaviour

There are three levels of breaches of expected behaviour that may lead to formal suspension or permanent exclusion.

9.3.1 Level 1: minor breaches

Minor breaches are initially dealt with informally and may involve a warning and communication with parents and/or guardians. The following are examples of minor breaches, although the list is not exhaustive:

  1. Failure to attend all classes on time, complete all homework/coursework/assignments to the best of the student’s ability and show a commitment to their studies inside and outside of the classroom; the Principal reserves the right to withdraw a student from lessons until they have properly completed their work, given fair notice.
  2. Failure to attend Personal Tutor Sessions – these sessions are a mandatory element of the College curriculum and all students are expected to attend these sessions without exception.
  3. Plagiarism – plagiarism is forbidden, and is illegal if published. Students who plagiarise homework or coursework will receive a formal warning and may face further disciplinary sanctions. For more detail please consult our Plagiarism Policy.
  4. For international students, failure to speak English at all times while in College, thus creating needless division among students.
  5. Smoking – (including Vaping and other alternatives) is not permitted anywhere inside the College and is prohibited for students under the age of 18. Students should never handle smoking paraphernalia within the building. For more information please refer to Ashbourne’s Alcohol and Smoking Policy.
  6. Use of mobile phones without permission in class – unless otherwise agreed with the teacher, mobile phones must be switched off and stowed away at all times during lessons and may only be used in the College common rooms. Students should be aware that inappropriate use of these devices can result in their confiscation. (See Ashbourne’s Student Acceptable Use Policy.)
  7. Failure to treat the libraries, common rooms and computer labs with respect appropriate to their purpose.
  8. Wearing inappropriate attire – students will be sent home to change if they are wearing inappropriate attire.
  9. Repeated failure to wear the College lanyard – this lanyard is required for security reasons and for the health and safety of everyone at the College. (See Ashbourne’s Lanyard and ID Policy.)
  10. Eating and drinking during lesson time without the consent of the teacher. Hot food is not permitted under any circumstances. Food brought onto the premises should, in general, be consumed in the common room, common areas or study areas. Students should be considerate of others and refrain from bringing any foods into the College that give off a strong or unpleasant odour.
  11. Using the photocopiers – these facilities are for staff use only; students must request copies of material from reception staff.

9.3.2 Level 2: repeated breaches

Repeated Level 1 breaches become Level 2 breaches. These will also be recorded in the student’s file and necessitate a meeting with parents and/or guardians, potentially resulting in final warnings, formal suspensions and possibly permanent exclusion.

9.3.3 Level 3: serious breaches

Serious breaches, many of which constitute illegal behaviour, that will lead to formal suspensions and/or permanent exclusion include, but are not limited to, the following:

  1. Physical assault against any member of the Ashbourne community.
  2. Possession/supply/use of illegal drugs, solvents or their paraphernalia or substances intended to resemble them as well as unacceptable behaviour resulting from the misuse of drugs, solvents, alcohol and any other substances.
  3. Possession/supply/use of unauthorised firearms or weapons, including knives, and replicas.
  4. Possession/distribution of obscene material in any form.
  5. Bullying, (including cyberbullying), blackmail, intimidation, threatening behaviour and inciting others to violence and other such misconduct.
  6. Sexual misconduct: sexual violence (rape, assault by penetration, sexual assault) and sexual harassment (unwanted conduct of a sexual nature including sexual comments, jokes/taunting, touching or other physical behaviour and online sexual comments/messages and sharing of nude or semi-nude images and/or videos, or explicit content). For further information refer to the College’s Child Protection and Safeguarding Policy and Procedures, Peer on Peer Abuse Policy, E-safety Policy including cyber-bullying.
  7. Racist, sexist, homophobic abuse or discriminatory behaviour. For further information refer to the College’s Anti-bullying Policy.
  8. Abuse relating to disability, sexual orientation, religion and/or other protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010. See the Equal Opportunities Policy and Child Protection and Safeguarding policy.
  9. Theft, vandalism and damage to property which may result in damages being applied.
  10. Serious breaches of the Acceptable Use of ICT Policy including computer hacking, inappropriate use of social media or online technology.
  11. Exam malpractice in relation to any examination or assessment, including mock and controlled assessments, coursework, practical and/or official examinations; actual or attempted possession and sharing of (in whatever format or fashion) unauthorised confidential information about an assessment or examination.
  12. Gross insubordination, serious acts of verbal and physical aggression and any misconduct that jeopardises the welfare and safety of any member of the Ashbourne Community including the student themselves.
  13. Behaviour, whether on or off the College premises, that tarnishes or brings into disrepute the reputation of the College.
  14. Malicious allegations against other members of the Ashbourne Community, including online.
  15. Persistently poor behaviour and attitudes that conflict with the College’s ethos, including casual racism, sexism and similarly offensive behaviour.

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10. GCSE (year 11) rules

Whilst the general rules and behaviour code apply to all students, there are some additional rules that apply solely to GCSE students.

  1. Registration – students must be present for both morning (8.50am) and afternoon (1.50pm) registration at the Young Street premises. Persistent lateness may result in a Homework Saturday.
  2. Parental consent to leave the premises for lunch – students who are under 16 may leave the site during the lunch hour provided the College has received parental consent. If students do not have consent to leave the site during the lunch break, they must ensure that they bring a packed lunch with them to the College each day. Students who have reached the age of 16 are permitted to leave the site during the lunch break.
  3. Designated lunch rooms – students eat their lunch (1pm to 2pm) in a designated room. It is the students’ responsibility to ensure that they leave the room tidy upon leaving.
  4. Escort between premises – students are not permitted to move between premises for classes without accompaniment by a member of staff, usually the Head of Middle School
  5. For A level students who have not yet turned 16 a risk assessment is carried out by the College and, with the parent’s permission, the student may be allowed to move between buildings unaccompanied.
  6. Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education (PSHEE) is a compulsory subject for all GCSE students. In line with statutory Government guidance the PSHEE curriculum incorporates Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural development, British Values, Citizenship education and Prevent awareness. PSHEE plays a key part in developing positive and healthy behaviour.

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11. Disciplinary Procedure

Ashbourne has a graduated scale for dealing with any disciplinary concerns related to student behaviour and/or academic performance. All infractions are dealt with based upon their nature and severity as outlined below:

Level 1 – minor breaches

Level 2 – repeated Level 1 breaches

Level 3 – serious breaches and persistent minor breaches escalating from Level 2

For all levels of indiscipline, the classification of an incident at Level 1, 2, or 3 is at the discretion of the attending staff. At all meetings to review behaviour the student will be given the opportunity to defend themselves and state their reasons for their behaviour.

11.1 Level 1

Level 1 breaches will initially be dealt with by teachers, or the member of staff involved, and passed on to Personal Tutors if the (mis)behaviour is repeated. Personal Tutors monitor students’ academic progress and personal welfare therefore will intervene where necessary.

Initial meetings between the student and the Personal Tutor for Level 1 breaches will not necessarily involve parents. Nevertheless, parents will be kept in the loop about any concerns with student progress or behaviour. The Personal Tutor will aim to resolve the issue with the student in an informal manner, giving the student the opportunity to explain or defend their behaviour. Usually the Personal Tutor will give the student a date by which to rectify the behaviour or a warning that repeated misbehaviour will lead to a Homework Saturday or possibly a meeting with parents.

Specific academic issues will trigger a Level 1 meeting with a Personal Tutor, which will also involve notifying the parent and/or guardian:

  1. Attendance slips below 95%.
  2. The student is cumulatively late for classes over 100 minutes within one half-term.
  3. The student has five outstanding pieces of homework within one half-term.

Where a students’ attendance falls below 95%, the Personal Tutor may revoke the student’s right to contact the College to report absences. If this is the case, the Personal Tutor will inform the student, parents and/or guardian that the Attendance Officer will only accept communication from an authorised adult if the student is unable to attend class.

11.2 Level 2

Level 2 breaches that are repeated Level 1 breaches will require a formal disciplinary meeting with the student, parent/guardian and Personal Tutor. The Personal Tutor will set out the reasons for concern and allow the student to respond and explain their behaviour. A date will be set to review behaviour improvement and a summary of the meeting will be emailed to all parties. Failure to comply with improvements agreed at the meeting will lead to a subsequent meeting where the student may receive a formal (fixed period) suspension.

Personal Tutors must seek authorisation from the Director of Studies, Head of Year and Principal to give formal (fixed period) suspensions for repeated transgressions.

Students will be required to complete the College re-entry procedures below following a formal suspension:

  1. Write an email to the Personal Tutor (and other people involved) apologising for the poor behaviour and explaining the steps that will be put in place to improve things going forward.
  2. Attend a meeting at 8.30am (unless agreed otherwise), prior to the start of the day when they return. The Personal Tutor will reiterate the reasons for the formal suspension and ensure the student fully understands the implications and further sanctions that may arise should behaviour fail to improve: Level 3 – disciplinary investigation and possible exclusion.

11.3 Level 3

Level 3 breaches that involve actual or threat of serious harm or risk to others, sexual violence or serious risk to themselves, will be referred to the CSC and/or police in line with the College’s Child Protection and Safeguarding Policy and Procedures. Students will be neutrally suspended during any criminal investigations and/or investigations into serious misconduct until a formal outcome is reached. The College may consider permanent exclusion regardless of the outcome of CSC and/or police investigations.

Level 3 breaches include escalated and unresolved Level 1 and 2 breaches and serious misconduct. Breaches at this level will be investigated by the Personal Tutor and reviewed by the Director of Studies, Head of Year (where applicable) and the Principal. Students may be neutrally suspended during this investigation period with the prospect of permanent exclusion.

The disciplinary investigation procedure is set out in Appendix A. Students who wish to appeal must do so in accordance with the College’s Complaints Policy procedure, following the formal suspension.

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12. Confiscation and use of restraint

12.1 Confiscation

Students can expect to have property that is not permitted on the premises confiscated. The College may, without consent, also conduct a search and confiscate the following illegal and prohibited items:

  • Knives and weapons
  • Alcohol
  • Illegal drugs
  • Stolen items
  • Cigarettes, vapes, tobacco and papers
  • Fireworks
  • Pornographic images (including removal of device)
  • Any articles used or intended for committing an offence, injury or damage to property.

For further information please refer to Ashbourne’s Alcohol and Smoking Policy and Drugs and Substances Policy.

12.2 Use of restraint

Any use of restraint by staff must be reasonable, proportionate and lawful. Restraint will be used only when immediately necessary and for the minimum time necessary to prevent a student from doing or continuing to do any of the following:

  • Committing a criminal offence.
  • Injuring themselves or others.
  • Causing damage to property, including their own.
  • Where restraint is used by staff, a written record is made of this incident. If possible the restraining member of staff should try to explain to the student the reasons for restraint.

13. Records

All suspensions and exclusions are recorded in the Student Database, with the name of the student concerned, the reason for the sanction and the name of the person administering the sanction. The Head of Academic Administration is responsible for recording this information in the Suspension and Expulsion Database.

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Authorised by
The Principal

September 2021

Effective date of the policy
September 2021

Teaching staff / all staff / parents / Students on request

Review date
September 2022

Appendix A: Disciplinary investigation procedure

1. Investigation

Investigation of serious misconduct (Level 3 breaches) will typically be coordinated by a member of the Senior Leadership Team; the preliminary findings will be reported to the Principal. Parents/legal guardians will be informed of the incident and ongoing investigation, usually in writing, as soon as reasonably possible.

Internal investigations may be temporarily suspended where external agencies such as the CSC and/or police are involved, and the College has been advised to do so.

2. Interview

Where the investigating officer (IO), usually the Director of Studies (DOS), thinks it is necessary to interview any students about the incident(s), the student will normally be accompanied by another member of staff. The IO may conduct interviews without additional staff where delay may compromise the veracity of witness/evidence.

The investigator will summarise the relevant points from the interview and communicate them to the student and their parents and/or legal guardians.

The student may be asked to make a signed statement; this is used on a need to know basis, although the College may reserve the right to protect a student’s anonymity where necessary (for example, where they are at risk of retaliation or other harm).

3. Neutral suspension

A student may be neutrally suspended while an incident(s) is being investigated. A member of staff, usually the DOS, will notify the parents and/or legal guardians of the reasons and period of suspension, as well as information about the procedure and their right to representation.

If a neutral suspension continues for more than five working days, the College will take reasonable steps to arrange and ensure educational provision.

4. Disciplinary meeting with the Principal

4.1 Notice

The student, and parents or other representatives if available, will be asked in writing to attend a disciplinary meeting with the Principal. The student will be made aware that a possible outcome of the meeting may be their permanent exclusion from the College.

4.2 Evidence

The Principal will review all relevant documentation and evidence from the investigation relating to the incident(s). The parents/legal guardians will receive a full report of the investigation (X days) before the meeting and may submit any evidence they believe to be relevant.

4.3 Attendance

Students may request another member of staff to attend the meeting, as well as their parents or legal guardians. The student and parents/legal guardians will have the opportunity to state their case. Previous statements will still be taken into consideration.

4.4 Access arrangements

Students or parents/legal guardians with SEND who may require additional facilities or adjustments relating to practical aspects of the meeting, (e.g. documentation format, mobility access), should inform the College in advance.

5. Proceedings

5.1 Incident

The Principal will consider the incident and evidence, including any relevant statements made by or on behalf of the student. Unless he believes further investigation is required, the Principal will decide whether a serious breach of discipline has been sufficiently proved, based on the balance of probabilities, i.e. the student is more likely than not to have made a serious breach.

5.2 Outcome

Where it is decided that a serious breach of discipline has been proved, the Principal will outline the sanctions that he considers appropriate and proportionate. The Principal will take into consideration a range of factors including, for example, the student’s disciplinary record and any mitigating circumstances that may have contributed towards the behaviour.

The Principal will communicate his decision in writing to the parents within five working days of the meeting.

6. Permanent exclusion

A decision to permanently exclude a student from the College will take effect xxx days after the decision has been communicated to the parent and/or legal guardians. Until that point the student will remain neutrally suspended from the College. If, within the period of neutral suspension, the parents/legal guardians have requested an appeal the student will remain neutrally suspended until the appeal review has been considered and a decision made to uphold it or implement the original sanction.

7. Status

If a student is permanently excluded from the College their formal status will be ‘excluded’. The Principal may offer parents the possibility of withdrawing a student, in certain circumstances, rather than carrying out a formal exclusion. In such instances, the Principal retains the right to disclose the reasons for the student leaving the College in any reference to other educational institutions. Parents/legal guardians who accept the option to withdraw a student forfeit any further right to appeal.

8. Appeal

A student’s or parents’/legal guardians’ request for an appeal on the Principal’s decision to implement sanctions for misconduct will be conducted through a panel hearing, as outlined in the Complaints Policy.

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