Expulsion Considerations

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

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.

Expulsion

Expulsion is the process of permanently excluding the student from the school in which he or she is currently enrolled. As the most extreme disciplinary measure available to a principal, it should only be used after other forms of behaviour management have been exhausted and the school can demonstrate evidence that this has occurred. The student’s behaviour must also be of such magnitude that expulsion is the only available mechanism.

Expulsion cannot be implemented as a consequence for events of a novel nature such as one-off pranks that do not cause any harm to other students or members of the school community.

Grounds and procedures for expulsion are set out in Ministerial Order 625 and detailed further in this guidance.

To access a summary of procedural requirements, see: Expulsion Process Flowchart

To meet the expulsion process requirements, you may also wish to use the following checklist, see Expulsion Process Checklist

Grounds for expulsion

In order for expulsion to be an option, the following conditions must be in place:

The student’s behaviour must have occurred:

  • whilst attending school; or
  • travelling to or from school; or
  • while engaged in any school activity away from the school; or
  • travelling to or from any school activity

The student’s behaviour must meet one or more of the following conditions:

  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/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

The student’s behaviour must also be of such magnitude that expulsion is the only available mechanism. In this regard, the principal must consider 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.

Under Victorian Law, in deciding whether to expel student, principals must undertake an assessment of that course of action under the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006. In addition, when determining whether to expel student with a disability, principals must be sure that reasonable adjustments have been made to assist the student to manage the behaviours where this is a manifestation of disability.

Authority to expel a student

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

School staff may provide advice to inform the principal's decision whether o expel student and may assist in the management of the student’s behaviour and/or in communications with the parents, carers or relevant persons. Principals old ultimate responsibility for ensuring that all processes are followed correctly.

Removing a student from school while considering an expulsion

If a student's behaviour is serious enough to warrant expulsion and poses danger to staff and students, a suspension with immediate effect may be implemented while he expulsion is being considered.

If consideration and/or implementation of an expulsion is going to take longer than the maximum suspension period of five consecutive days, principals can apply to the Regional Director for an extension. To apply for approval use the Request for Approval - Suspension Over 5 days form

For more information on implementing an immediate suspension, see Suspension Considerations

Students in out-of-home care

The Out-of-Home Care Education Commitment: A Partnering Agreement between the Department of Human Services, Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, the Catholic Education Commission of Victoria and Independent Schools Victoria (the Partnering Agreement) commits all parties to improve the educational experience and outcomes of children and young people in out-of-home care in Victoria.

As part of the Partnering Agreement, an Education Support Guarantee for children and young people in out-of-home care has been established and commits schools and education-related health and wellbeing services and programs to providing an increased level of support and responsiveness to the educational needs of children and young people in out-of-home care.

In all cases where a student residing in out-of-home care is being considered for expulsion, the relevant Regional Director must be notified so that obligations in the Out-of-Home Care Education Commitment can be met.

For more information, see: Out-of-Home Care Education Commitment: A Partnering Agreement

Overseas students

When considering appropriate discipline for overseas students, otherwise known as international students, it is important to note that the decision to expel may impact on a number of the student’s visa conditions.

Such visa conditions can include the following:

  • The student must attend 80 per cent of classes
  • The student must make satisfactory progress.

Note: Ministerial Order 625 does not apply to the expulsion of an overseas student under section 2.2.8 of the Education and Training Reform Act 2006, in respect to unpaid fees.

The International Education Division of the Department must be notified of all cases where expulsion is being considered for an overseas student on (03) 9637 2990.

This will ensure that the necessary transition arrangements and/or implications for the student’s visa can be managed by the Department’s International Education Division. It will also ensure that the Department complies with its obligations as a registered CRICOS provider under Commonwealth legislation.

Schools enrolling international students are required to contact the International Education Division which manages the deferment, suspension and cancellation of international student enrolments. Schools should note that international students must be notified of the intention to cancel their enrolment, and be provided with 20 working days to access the Division’s internal complaints and appeals process.

For more information see International Student Program Quality Standard 13 - Deferment, suspension or cancellation of study during enrolment, see: ISP Quality Standards and School Resources.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students

When considering an expulsion for an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander student, a principal should engage a Koorie Engagement Support Officer (KESO). The KESO can support the school and the family to find the best outcome for the student and also connect the school and family to any local or regional resources to assist.

For more information on supporting Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander students through an expulsion process or to seek the involvement of a KESO, contact the Koorie Education Coordinator. See Koorie Education Coordinator Contact Details

Students with disabilities

When a student has a disability that is relevant to the expulsion process and may impact upon placement decisions, the regional office should be notified to contribute to support and planning.

For further advice and support contact: Regions

Students with separated parents

For students who have separated parents, it important to remember that suspension and expulsion are serious disciplinary measures and therefore all parents and carers are entitled to be notified of the intention to suspend or expel the student. In circumstances where there is more than one parent or carer who would like to participate in the suspension and expulsion process, it is important to involve all of them in the process.

If the principal of a Victorian government school needs advice and assistance on how to proceed with the suspension or expulsion in these circumstances, it is strongly recommended that they contact the Department’s Legal Division on (03) 9637 3146 or legal.services@edumail.vic.gov.au