Was the governors' decision "unreasonable"?

The principles of public law require that any decision that the governors reach is reasonable. This is sometimes referred to as “rationality”.

Reasonableness requires that governors’ decisions and conclusions are logical and are based on all the relevant information. There are three elements.

Firstly, did the governors consider factors which they ought not to have considered? Relying on factors or information that are not relevant may cause the decision to uphold the exclusion to be irrational and fail the reasonableness In public law, reasonableness is the legal principle that requires a public body An organisation that performs a public function with public funds. Includes schools (includes academies and free-schools, but not independent or private schools), CAMHS, the local authority and the police. to account for all relevant information, and come to a rational decision. Headteachers, governors and IRPs must all be reasonable when reviewing exclusions. test.

Secondly, did the school fail to consider factors which it ought to have considered? If there are relevant factors that the headteacher has not considered before deciding to exclude then the decision may be irrational and therefore the exclusion may be unreasonable.

Thirdly, was the decision to exclude so unreasonable that no reasonable board of governors would have made it? If the decision of the governors was made having considered the right information, but does not follow logically from the information available then it may be considered unreasonable.

  • For more information on reasonableness In public law, reasonableness is the legal principle that requires a public body An organisation that performs a public function with public funds. Includes schools (includes academies and free-schools, but not independent or private schools), CAMHS, the local authority and the police. to account for all relevant information, and come to a rational decision. Headteachers, governors and IRPs must all be reasonable when reviewing exclusions. in public law, read the Quick-Guide: a Headteacher's Power to Exclude.

Review the governors’ decision letter and the minutes of the governors’ hearing then answer the question: was the governors’ decision, or were any of their findings, unreasonable?

                               Yes                                         No