Expulsion Appeal

From Term 1 2017, Victorian government and Catholic schools will use the new Victorian Curriculum F-10. Curriculum related information is currently being reviewed and may be subject to change.

For more information on the curriculum, see:
The Victorian Curriculum F–10 - VCAA

The student has the right to appeal the principal’s decision to expel them from the school. The principal must provide an Expulsion Appeal form to a student when they are expelled.

The Secretary of the Department has the power to uphold or overturn the decision made by the principal to expel the student. The Secretary has delegated powers and functions in relation to expulsion appeals to the Deputy Secretary, Regional Services Group, Regional Directors, and Area Executive Directors.

Consideration and determination of expulsion appeals to be delegated to the Area Executive Director; or Regional Director if the Area Executive Director is unable; or the Deputy Secretary, Regional Services Group if the Regional Director is unable.

Who can appeal a decision to expel?

  • A student who is 18 years of age or older can lodge his or her own appeal against the decision unless he or she has a guardian (i.e. due to a disability). If the student does have a guardian, the guardian should lodge the appeal on behalf of the student.
  • A student who is considered a mature minor can lodge his or her own appeal against the decision. In order to determine whether a student is a mature minor, please refer to Decision Making Responsibilities for Students
  • For all other students, the relevant person may lodge the appeal on behalf of the student, provided that they take the views of the student into account and that they are acting in the best interests of the student.

Grounds for appeal

Expulsions can be appealed on the following grounds:

  • The expulsion process was not followed by the principal.
  • The grounds on which the student was expelled are considered unfair (i.e. was the decision to expel harsh, unjust or unreasonable in relation to the circumstances?).
  • A student has a history of behavioural issues, and there is insufficient evidence of prior interventions designed to address behavioural breaches and support the student.
  • There are other extenuating circumstances.

Principals please note that throughout this guidance anything that is a legal obligation under Ministerial Order 625 is written as 'the principal must'. Where the guidance states that 'the principal should', this is a best practice recommendation. Expulsion appeals on the basis of process can only relate to items that state 'the principal must' not occurring.

Status of expulsion during an appeal

If an appeal against the expulsion is lodged, the expulsion continues to have effect until the Area Executive Director makes a decision regarding the appeal. The principal should continue to implement the action plan that was determined at the Behaviour Review Conference, and to provide the student with meaningful work and monitor the completion of this work until the student is either enrolled at a new setting or has returned to school (depending on the outcome of the appeal).

Expulsion Appeal Process


Step one: student lodges an appeal

In order to appeal the expulsion decision, a student must provide the principal with a completed and signed Expulsion Appeal Form within 10 school days of the student receiving the Notice of Expulsion.

Step two: school principal submits documents

The principal must provide the Area Executive Director with a copy of the following documents within 24 hours of receiving the Expulsion Appeal:

  • Notice of Expulsion
  • Expulsion Report; and
  • Expulsion Appeal

To access notice and report templates, see: Student Engagement and Inclusion Guidance resources

Step three: Area Executive Director considers appeal

The Area Executive Director must decide whether to uphold or overturn the decision made by the principal to expel the student. He or she must use their best endeavours to make a determination within 15 school days of receiving the Expulsion Appeal from the principal.

To assist with his or her deliberations, the Area Executive Director may appoint an Expulsion Review Panel to review the principal’s decision to expel the student. The Area Executive Director may consider the recommendations made in the Expulsion Review Panel Report but he or she is not bound to follow them in making a decision in relation to the expulsion appeal.

If an Expulsion Review Panel is not appointed by the Area Executive Director, he or she should personally consider all relevant information and documentation before making a decision in relation to the expulsion appeal.

The student and/or their relevant person must be given the opportunity to present their case against the expulsion to the Expulsion Review Panel (if appointed) or directly to the Area Executive Director. The Area Executive Director must ensure the appeal process is accessible for all students and their relevant persons, for example by engaging interpreters if required or allowing students and their relevant persons to present their case by telephone if they are unable to meet in person. For information on good practice in engaging with families, see Working with Families.

To assist with their considerations, the Expulsion Review Panel should consider their legal obligations and apply the Principles of Administrative Decision Making. For more information, see Legal Obligations and Principles of Administrative Decision Making

Appointment of an Expulsion Review Panel (optional)

If the Area Executive Director decides to appoint an Expulsion Review Panel, he or she must perform the following tasks:

Determine who will be on the Panel bearing in mind that the Panel must consist of the following:

  • A Department of Education and Training representative nominated by the Area Executive Director
  • A member from the Regional Approved List (RAL) nominated by the Area Executive Director
  • A member from the RAL nominated by the principal

A member of the RAL must not perform more than one role in an expulsion process, or be from the same school as the expelling principal.

For example, if a member of the RAL assisted and supported the principal during the expulsion process, the same person cannot be appointed as a member of the expulsion review panel. For more information, see: Regional Approved List Guide

If you have diffculty accessing the list for your region, please contact Health, Wellbeing and Engagement staff. See: Regions

An Executive Officer should be appointed to assist the Expulsion Review Panel.

Role of Expulsion Review Panel

The role of the Expulsion Review Panel is to:

  • Provide an opportunity for the student and the relevant person to be heard
  • Consider all of the relevant information and documentation that has been provided to the Expulsion Review Panel
  • Provide the Area Executive Director with an Expulsion Review Panel Report within 24 hours of the conclusion of the Expulsion Review Panel meeting making recommendations in relation to the expulsion appeal.

Please note: principals do not have the opportunity to present their case in person to an Expulsion Review Panel. The expulsion report is used as the principal’s version of events.

Role of the Executive Officer

The role of the Executive Officer of the Expulsion Review Panel is to:

  • Liaise with the Panel members to determine an appropriate date, time and place to convene the Expulsion Review Panel meeting
  • Contact both the student and the relevant person and provide them with the following information:

- Date, time and place of the meeting

- That they are encouraged to attend the meeting

- That if the relevant person is unable or unwilling to attend the Expulsion Review Panel meeting, the relevant person or student may nominate another adult to attend the meeting

- That they may be accompanied by an independent support person of their choice who is not acting for fee or reward

- That if they do not attend the meeting, the Expulsion Review Panel meeting may proceed in their absence, and an Expulsion Review Panel Report may be prepared for the Area Executive Director without the benefit of hearing from the student and the relevant person.

  • Determine whether an interpreter is required by any person who may attend the meeting and arrange for such assistance to be present at the meeting.
  • Ensure that the Expulsion Review Panel members receive the following documentation:

- Notice of Expulsion

- Expulsion Report

- Expulsion Appeal (pdf - 179.35kb)

  • Ensure that panel members are fully informed of their role
  • Appoint a Chairperson for the meeting.

To assist with their considerations, the Expulsion Review Panel should consider their legal obligations and apply the Principles of Administrative Decision Making. For more information, see Legal Obligations and Principles of Administrative Decision Making

Step four: Area Executive Director's decision and notification

Once a decision has been made, the Area Executive Director must verbally notify the student, the relevant person, and the principal of the outcome of the expulsion appeal within 24 hours of the decision being made.

The Area Executive Director must also provide the following documents to the student, the relevant person, and the principal:

  • Notification of the outcome of the expulsion appeal; and
  • Copy of the Expulsion Review Panel Report (if applicable)

These documents should be provided within five school days of a decision being made or as soon as is practicable.

Final steps

Upholding the appeal

If the Area Executive Director decides to uphold the principal’s decision to expel the student, the principal must take the following action:

a) A student of compulsory school age:

  • Continue to implement the plan to transition the student to another school, registered training organisation, or employment
  • Where there is a significant delay, continue to implement the Student Absence Learning Plan and provide the student with appropriate work until the transition to another school, registered training organisation, or employment has been finalised.

b) A student who is beyond compulsory school age:

  • The principal should ensure that the student and the relevant person have been provided with information about other schools, registered training organisations or employment that may provide suitable opportunities for the student.

Overturning the appeal

If the Area Executive Director decides to overturn the principal’s decision to expel the student, he or she should arrange for the regional office to provide the principal with assistance and support in making any modifications or reasonable adjustments that may facilitate the student’s return to school.

If the expulsion has been overturned, the principal must take the following action as soon as possible:

  • The student must be re-enrolled in the school
  • The principal must develop a Return to School Plan for the student in collaboration with the student, the relevant person, and relevant school staff
  • The record of the expulsion must be removed from the student’s permanent record and CASES21
  • The student and the relevant person must be notified in writing that the expulsion has been removed from the student’s record.

Forms