The Victorian Ombudsman has therefore commenced an ‘own motion’ investigation into school expulsions. The investigation will examine:
- Whether the department is complying with the Ministerial Order and policies regarding Government school expulsions, which include:
- ensuring relevant parties are notified that an expulsion is being considered,
- ensuring a conference is conducted with the affected student,
- ensuring the student is provided with other educational and development opportunities,
- providing a fair and effective appeals process.
- Whether vulnerable or at-risk students are over-represented in expulsion numbers and whether the department is effectively addressing any such issues.
- Whether the data collected by the department regarding expulsions is sufficient to inform departmental policy-making and programs.
- Whether the department is monitoring and preventing instances of informal expulsions, which occur outside a formal expulsion process.
Figures from the Department of Education and Training show that the number of students being expelled has risen over 25 per cent in the past year. Complaints to the Ombudsman indicate that families experience difficulty when attempting to appeal expulsions and in finding alternative education placement for a child when they are expelled. It is therefore timely that the Ombudsman investigates these matters.
School expulsions are made according to Ministerial Order 625 – the Procedures for Suspension and Expulsion which has been in effect since March 2014. Expulsions can be appealed through the regional office of the Department of Education and Training.
The Victorian Ombudsman welcomes submissions from the public and relevant organisations on this issue.
Submissions can be made at: email@example.com or by calling 03 9613 6222 or (Regional) 1800 806 314.
Deborah Glass is not available for interview.
Source: Office of the Victorian Ombudsman, Australia