Managed moves between schools

Since the new Suspensions and Exclusions Statutory Guidance was published, we have received a lot of questions about the use of managed moves. For the first time, the Statutory Guidance does explain what a managed move is, but in relatively broad terms and does not cover the mechanics of how a managed move should operate.

09 November 2022

Since the latest Suspensions and Exclusions Statutory Guidance was published, we have received a lot of questions about the use of managed moves. For the first time, the Statutory Guidance does explain what a managed move is, but in relatively broad terms and does not cover the mechanics of how a managed move should operate.

What the new Statutory Guidance does say is that a managed move should only be used where it is in the pupil’s best interests, and where initial interventions have been put in place prior to considering a managed move. Information sharing is required too, including on attainment and risk management, so that the new school is able to support a pupil from day one.

Trial periods and dual registration

There is nothing in the new Statutory Guidance that prevents the use of ‘trial periods’, which take the form of a period of dual registration. Whilst the intention of a managed move is a permanent transfer of a pupil from one school to another, this is described as a “process” in the new guidance. Schools do, though, need to understand the limits of a period of dual registration.

If a young person is attending the school and receiving education, then they will need to be put on the roll of the school, as they will be caught by the relatively wide definition of ‘pupil’. Whenever a pupil is put on a school’s roll, the Education (Pupil Registration) (England) Regulations 2006 apply. These provide specific requirements on pupil registration and also the circumstances in which a pupil can be deleted from the roll. If a child is dual registered, then the requirements apply to both schools.

Terminating a trial placement

There is one specific ground for deletion from the roll that applies to circumstances where a pupil is dual registered. This would apply where a child who is dual registered has ceased to attend one of the schools, it is not a permanent exclusion, and where the other dual registered school has consented to the removal. The recent interpretation of DfE to these Regulations was that if the new school on a managed move wanted to terminate the placement during a trial, they would need to follow the permanent exclusion process in the normal way, with all the relevant rights offered. There is no other ground to remove a child from a roll due to behaviour.

That means that, whilst a short trial period can be used to ensure that the child is settling in well, it’s not akin to a probationary period for an employee — you still need to go through the usual exclusion process if the proposed reason for the removal from the roll is due to behaviour. That does mean that if both schools wish to remove the pupil from each of their rolls due to behaviour, both have to follow the permanent exclusion process.

"A greater emphasis on information sharing..."

Whilst this isn’t a change resulting from the new Statutory Guidance and has been the position for some time, the new wording on managed moves has raised questions about how these should operate, given the previous complete lack of guidance. In our experience, different areas had very different practice. It does also make managed moves potentially less attractive and places a much greater emphasis on information sharing between schools before the new school decides to agree to the managed move.

Managed moves have always operated on the basis of each school taking its share of managed moves to give pupils a fresh start. As there is no requirement to accept a managed move, reciprocity is the key to it working. Schools that decide not to accept managed moves, given the inability to easily terminate the placement due to behaviour, will likely find that other schools don’t want to offer their students moves in the future.

The DfE promised a wider look at pupil moves between schools, and we hope that such a review considers how managed moves fit into the wider admissions process as well as with the Pupil Registration Regulations.

We have included a model managed move letter in our Exclusion Support Pack, details of which can be found here.

Contact

Contact

Philip Wood

Senior Associate

philip.wood@brownejacobson.com

+44 (0)330 045 2274

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