Principals please note: Where guidance states 'the principal must' this is a legal obligation under Ministerial Order 625. 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.
To access a summary of procedural requirements, see: Expulsion Process Flowchart
To help meet expulsion process requirements, see: Expulsion Process Checklist
First steps: prior to expulsion
- Determine if expulsion is an option
- Conduct a preliminary investigation
- Seek assistance from Regional Approved Support Person
- Notify the Department (in some circumstances)
- Arrange a Behaviour Review Conference
Determine if expulsion is an option
Expulsion may be an appropriate course of action where a student poses a significant and real threat to the ongoing safety of other students and staff and/or compromises the effectiveness of the school’s educational programs. A principal may only expel a student if the location and nature of their behaviour meets certain conditions. For information on when expulsion may be an option, see: Grounds for Expulsion under Expulsion Considerations
Conduct a preliminary investigation
The principal should conduct a thorough investigation to establish the nature of the behaviour/s, the student who committed those behaviour/s, the context in which it was committed, and any other relevant circumstances in relation to the incident or behaviour.
The principal must:
- consider any alternative disciplinary measures that may be appropriate to address the behaviour of the student.
- identify the student's relevant person in accordance with Part 2 of the Ministerial Order, see: Identifying a Relevant Person
- consider appropriate education, training and employment options that may be available to the student should a decision be made to expel the student.
Seek assistance from Regional Approved Support Person
As part of his or her considerations, the principal must select and seek support from a Regional Approved Support Person (RASP). The RASP can provide the following advice and support:
- Attend the behaviour review conference (or other meetings with the student and the relevant person as appropriate)
- Provide advice on alternative disciplinary measures and ensure that they are considered for the student
- Ensure that the appropriate education, training and/or employment options are considered for the student
- Assist with, and support the monitoring of the implementation of the course of action agreed to at the meeting, including a student’s transition to another school, registered training organisation or employment if the expulsion proceeds (noting that the expelling principal holds ultimate responsibility for ensuring that students make successful transitions following an expulsion).
The role of the RASP is not to make decisions or to take on any of the responsibilities of the principal but to provide the principal with advice and support during the process.
For more information see, Regional Approved List Guide
To access the Regional Approved List for your Region see:
If you have diffculty accessing the list for your region, please contact Health, Wellbeing and Engagement staff. See: Regions
Notify the Department (in some circumstances)
- notify the Department if expulsion is being considered for any of the following students:
Principals should also consider notifying the Department if expulsion is being considered for the following students:
- Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander students
- students on the Program for Students with Disabilities
To see the process for notifying the Department, see: Expulsion Considerations
Arrange a Behaviour Review Conference
Before making the decision to expel a student, and at the earliest available time, the principal must convene a Behaviour Review Conference to provide the student and their relevant person with the opportunity to discuss the student’s behaviour and possible consequences, including expulsion.
The principal must:
- contact the student and the relevant person and provide them with the following information:
- the date, time and place for the behaviour review conference
- that both the student and the relevant person are encouraged to attend the behaviour review conference
- that if the relevant person is unable or unwilling to attend, the relevant person may nominate another adult to attend the Behaviour Review Conference
- that they may be accompanied by an independent support person of their choice who is not acting for fee or rewardthat if they do not attend the meeting, the meeting may proceed in their absence, and if expulsion is decided, the course of action may be determined without the benefit of hearing from the student and the relevant person.
The principal should determine whether an interpreter is required by any person who may attend the meeting, and arrange such assistance if necessary.
When scheduling a Behaviour Review Conference, reasonable attempts should be made to ensure that a date, time and place be chosen that allows the student and the relevant person to attend.
Where this is not possible or if the student’s relevant person is unable or unwilling to attend the meeting, the relevant person and/or the student may nominate another adult to attend the behaviour review conference on their behalf.
In some circumstances, it may be necessary for the principal to request that a person from the Suitable Persons List be appointed to support the student through this process.
For more information on when it may be appropriate for the principal to request a person from the Suitable Persons List, see: Identifying a Relevant Person
At the Behaviour Review Conference
The attendees of the Behaviour Review Conference should include the following:
- the principal
- the student
- the relevant person or their nominee
- Regional Approved Support Person
- independent support person (if appropriate)
- interpreter(s) (if appropriate)
- Koorie Support Education Officer (if appropriate).
The Behaviour Review Conference must cover the following:
- Informing the student and the relevant person that expulsion is being considered
- the grounds on which expulsion is being considered
- a summary of the evidence that supports a finding that the student has engaged in the alleged behaviour
- actions taken to date to address the student's behaviour and engagement at school
- an opportunity for the student and their relevant person to be heard; to respond to the grounds for expulsion and the evidence being relied upon; and to provide any additional information they perceive to be relevant to the decision regarding expulsion
- any modifications or adjustments that would need to be made to enable the student to remain at school
- identification of the student's options for future educational, training and employment and development of a transition plan to support the student in the event that the expulsion proceeds
- Provide the student and relevant person with the Parent Brochure - Procedures following Expulsion (pdf - 119 (pdf - 224.7kb)
For alternative versions, including translated versions, see: Resources for Principals
If the student and the relevant person do not attend the Behaviour Review Conference, the principal must ensure that the key points discussed at the meeting are recorded in writing and sent to the student and the relevant person.
Following the Behaviour Review Conference
After the Behaviour Review Conference, the principal must properly, fairly and without bias, consider all of the relevant information and documentation in making a decision as to whether to expel the student. This includes consideration of the following:
- Any information or documentation provided by the student or their relevant person
- Other forms of action to address the behaviour for which the expulsion is being considered
- The need to maintain the health, safety and wellbeing of other students and staff at the school
- The need to maintain the effectiveness of the school’s educational programs
- The alternative education options available to the student
- Whether the expulsion is appropriate, considering:
- The behaviour for which the student is being expelled
- The educational needs of the student
- Any disability of the student
- The age of the student
- The residential and social circumstances of the student
- Advice provided by relevant professionals such as Koorie Engagement Support Officers or Student
Support Service Officers.
In making their decision, the principal should consider their legal obligations and apply the Principles of Administrative Decision Making, see: Legal Obligations and Principles of Administrative Decision Making
The principal must make a decision about whether to expel the student, and notify the student and the relevant person of this decision within 48 hours of the conclusion of the Behaviour Review Conference.
Next steps: decision and notification
If the expulsion does NOT proceed
If, following the behaviour review conference and after making his or her considerations, the principal makes the decision not to proceed with the expulsion, then it is recommended that a student support group meeting is held to discuss any supports, modifications or adjustments that need to take place to reduce the likelihood of the behaviour reoccurring.
For more information on the supports and resources available to schools please see: Strategies and Supports Available to Schools.
If the expulsion DOES proceed
If a decision is made to expel the student, the principal must also complete the following tasks:
1. Provide the student and the relevant person with the following documents:
a) Notice of Expulsion; and
b) Expulsion Appeal form (pdf - 211.65kb).
2. Prepare an Expulsion Report.
3. Provide copies of the following documents to the Regional Director within 24 hours of the expulsion taking effect:
a) Notice of Expulsion
b) Expulsion Report.
4. Record the expulsion in CASES21.
When preparing the Expulsion Report, the principal should provide all of the relevant information and documentation that was considered in making their decision. This report is an important record of the decision to expel and the reasons this decision was made. In the event of an appeal, it will be used as the principal’s version of events. Therefore, it is strongly recommended that the report details as much information as possible on their decision-making process.
For more information on the expulsion appeal process, please see Expulsion Appeal
Final steps: post-expulsion requirements
- Implement a Transition plan
- Compulsory school age
- Beyond compulsory school age
- Regional support in transitions
Implement a Transition plan
Following the decision to expel the student the principal, with advice from the regional office and the Regional Approved Support Person (if appropriate), should arrange for the implementation of the transition plan that was devised at the Behaviour Review Conference.
Implementing a transition - compulsory school age
For students of compulsory school age, the principal must:
- ensure as soon as practicable after an expulsion that the student is participating in one or more of the following:
- enrolled at another registered school
- enrolled at a registered training organisation
- engaged in employment.
- provide the student with meaningful work and monitor the completion of this work until they are enrolled at the new setting. This could include the completion of a Student Absence Learning Plan, if appropriate.
All Victorian government schools have a shared responsibility for enrolling students who have been expelled. As a last resort, the Regional Director may direct the principal of a Victorian government school to enrol a student who has been expelled from another school.
These obligations do not apply if the student has been granted an exemption from participating in education, training or employment.
For more information, see:
Implementing a transition - beyond compulsory school age
For students who are beyond compulsory school age:
- The principal should provide the student and the relevant person with information about other schools, registered training organisations or employment that may provide suitable opportunities for the student.
In all cases, the principal of the expelling school should consult with the Department about what information is appropriate for disclosure to the enrolling school, registered training organisation, or employer, bearing in mind duty of care obligations as well as obligations to comply with the Information Privacy Act 2000 and the Health Records Act 2001.
Regional support in transitions
Department regions can provide support and advice around transition arrangements. In complex cases involving vulnerable or at risk students, the region can also identify appropriate services to help ensure the transition is a positive experience for the student and focused on providing the student with a fresh start.
For Regional Office contact details, see Regions
If the student is Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander the regional Koorie Engagement Support Officer should be involved in supporting the transition. For contact details, see Koorie Education Coordinator Contact Details
If the student is in Out of home Care, see LOOKOUT Education Support Centres