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education.vic.gov.au

School operations

Expulsions

Policy

The purpose of this policy is to ensure that all Victorian government schools comply with legislative and Department policy requirements when implementing student expulsion procedures.

Summary

  • This policy applies to all Victorian government schools and reflects the requirements set out in Ministerial Order 1125 — Procedures for Suspension and Expulsion of Students in Government Schools.
  • Only principals have authority to make the decision to expel a student. This authority cannot be delegated.
  • Principals must not expel a student who is aged 8 years or less without the Secretary’s approval.
  • Detailed procedural considerations and requirements exist for the expulsion process and it is essential that principals refer to and follow the full mandatory expulsion guidelines and procedures in the Guidance tab when they are considering expelling a student
  • Additional actions must be taken by a principal considering expelling a student who is in out-of-home care, a Koori student, a student who is eligible for funding under the Program for Students with Disabilities and an overseas student.  

Details

School must refer to and apply the procedures set out in the mandatory expulsion guidelines in the Guidance tab.

Background

Ministerial Order 1125 took effect on 16 July 2018. The Order defines the grounds and process for suspensions, expulsions and appeals relating to expulsions of students in Victorian government schools. The Ministerial Order must be complied with in a manner which is consistent with the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006. 

Application

This policy applies to all Victorian government schools and reflects the requirements set out in Ministerial Order 1125 — Procedures for Suspension and Expulsion of Students in Government Schools. The Expulsion Guidelines and Procedures have been developed to support and guide principals to meet their obligations when they are considering expelling a student from a Victorian government school.

Authority to expel

Only principals have authority to make the decision to expel a student. This authority cannot be delegated.

Principals must not expel a student who is aged 8 years or less without the Secretary’s approval.

Grounds for expulsion

A principal may expel a student from the school if, whilst attending school, travelling to and from school or engaging in any school related activity away from school (including when travelling to or from that activity) the student:

  1. behaves in such a way as to pose a danger, whether actual, perceived or threatened, to the health, safety or wellbeing of any person
  2. causes significant damage to or destruction of property
  3. commits or attempts to commit or is knowingly involved in the theft of property
  4. possesses, uses or sells or deliberately assists another person to possess, use or sell illicit substances or weapons
  5. fails to comply with any clear and reasonable instruction of a staff member so as to pose a danger, whether actual, perceived or threatened, to the health, safety or wellbeing of any person
  6. consistently engages in behaviour that vilifies, defames, degrades or humiliates another person based on age, breastfeeding, gender, identity, impairment, industrial activity, lawful sexual activity, marital status, parent or carer status or status as a carer, physical features, political belief or activity, pregnancy, race, religious belief or activity, sex, sexual orientation, personal association (whether as a relative or otherwise) with a person who is identified by reference to any of the above attributes
  7. consistently behaves in an unproductive manner that interferes with the wellbeing, safety or educational opportunities of any other student 

and the student's behaviour is of such magnitude that, having regard to the need of the student to receive an education compared to the need to maintain the health, safety and wellbeing of other students and staff at the school and the need to maintain the effectiveness of the school's educational programs, expulsion is the only available mechanism.

Procedures for expulsion

When a behavioural incident(s) is of such magnitude that an expulsion is considered, it is important that a transparent, fair and supportive process is in place for all parties involved, with appropriate checks and balances at each stage.

Interventions and supports should be implemented and thoroughly documented well before an expulsion is considered by a principal. Expulsions are a serious disciplinary measure in Victorian government schools and should only be used as a last resort when all other disciplinary measures, interventions, supports and options have been exhausted.

Detailed expulsion guidelines and procedures exist for the expulsion and expulsion appeal process. To ensure expulsion processes are lawful and consistent with the Department’s policy expectations, it is essential that principals follow these guidelines and procedures, set out in the Guidance tab.

It is critical that students involved in expulsion procedures are supported throughout the process. Where there has been a history of challenging behaviours, it is also critical that schools consider whether or not sufficient interventions and supports have been implemented, prior to making an expulsion decision. 

Additional measures are in place to support vulnerable students and to comply with the additional requirements set out in Ministerial Order 1125.

Expulsion appeals

In keeping with principles of procedural fairness and natural justice, a decision to expel a student from a Victorian government school can be appealed by the student or their parent or carer.

An expulsion can be appealed on the following grounds:

  • a student has a history of behavioural issues, and there is insufficient evidence of prior interventions designed to address the behaviour and support the student
  • the grounds on which the student was expelled are considered unfair
  • the expulsion process was not followed by the principal
  • other extenuating circumstances

Further information on the expulsion appeal process is available on the Guidance tab.

In rare circumstances where an expulsion is overturned on appeal and the principal holds significant ongoing concerns for the students at the school, a principal may refer the matter to the student safety and wellbeing expert panel. Further information on the expert panel, is available on the Guidance tab.

Contacts

Schools may contact their Regional Engagement Coordinator for support with the expulsion process.

Refer to Our office locations for contact details for each regional office.

Relevant legislation

Department policy on student expulsion

Reviewed 16 February 2021

Policy last updated

15 June 2020

Scope

  • Schools

Contact

Wellbeing Health and Engagement Division There are multiple contacts for this topic. Refer to the Contacts section in the policy for details.

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