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What is a managed move?

A managed move is a voluntary agreement between schools, parents/carers, and a pupil, for that pupil to change school or educational programme under controlled circumstances. Managed moves are often used as an alternative to permanent exclusion; the result is that no exclusion is formally logged on the pupil’s school record.

A managed move is different to the power of a school to direct a pupil off-site for the improvement of their behaviour. This is a particular power given to maintained schools under section 29(3) Education Act 2002 and is strictly time-limited. It is important that you clarify with the school the legal basis under which they are proposing that a child is sent to other premises for their education. A managed move can only be with the consent of all of those involved, whereas direction off-site under section 29(3) can be done without the consent of the parents.

When might a managed move be appropriate?

A managed move may be suitable in the following situations:

  • where a pupil refuses to attend their current school
  • where a pupil is at risk of permanent exclusion from their current school
  • where a pupil is posing a risk to the welfare of others at their current school
  • where a pupil has Special Educational Needs (SEN) and is not making progress at their current school, or the school is unable to meet the pupil’s needs. For more information on a school’s obligations in relation to SEN, we can provide you with our guidance on SEN Support in Mainstream Schools.

What educational provision might a managed move involve?

A managed move can include the following options for the pupil:

  • transfer to a new school or college with an amended learning programme
  • part-time attendance at the current school, with an individual learning and therapeutic programme elsewhere
  • full-time attendance at a Pupil Referral Unit with a view to the pupil returning to the current school or moving to a new school or college
  • part-time attendance at a Pupil Referral Unit combined with a home and community learning plan
  • home-based learning to cater for the pupil’s Special Educational Needs

What is a deferred managed move?

School can implement a deferred move, where the move only takes place if the pupil does not keep to their side of an agreement. The plan should be clear about what the pupil is expected to do and the consequences of not sticking to the agreement.

What is the process for deciding a managed move?

As managed moves are voluntary agreements, there is no statutory scheme governing their use. In September 2022, some guidance was added to the Suspension and Permanent Exclusions Guidance which included:

Managed moves should be offered as part of a planned intervention. The original school should be able to evidence that appropriate initial intervention has been carried out, including, where relevant, multi-agency support, or any statutory assessments were done or explored prior to a managed move.

DfE Suspension and Exclusions Guidance 2022, paragraph 49

Best practice suggests that there should be several clear stages as detailed below:

  • The school appoints a facilitator to oversee a managed move agreement.
  • The headteacher informs parents or carers in writing of the situation and proposal for a managed move.
  • The facilitator and headteacher discuss options and alternatives for the pupil involved.
  • The facilitator contacts other schools or Pupil Referral Units which might be suitable; parents can input into this process.
  • The facilitator holds a home visit with parents and carers to explain the situation and options.
  • The school hosts a managed move meeting. This should be attended by a representative of the school, the pupil and his or her family and the facilitator responsible for the move.
  • The managed move agreement should be drawn up and agreed to by all parties.

What might be included in a managed move agreement?

The managed move agreement should include:

  • key information such as, when it will begin, where it will be, and what the next steps will be
  • an adjusted individual education plan for the pupil
  • the named person responsible for implementing the agreement
  • incentives and goals for achievements under the agreement.

What are the advantages to a managed move?

There may be the following advantages to agreeing to a managed move:

  • A managed move may be a viable alternative to a permanent exclusion because the focus is on a fresh start for the pupil, and providing support and services to the pupil, in their new educational placement or programme.
  • Both schools, the parent/carers, and the pupils are fully involved in the process and must agree before the managed move goes ahead.
  • A managed move can ensure a transition with minimal disruption to a child’s education and without the need to go down the appeals route against a permanent exclusion.

It is important that parents and pupils are fully informed before consenting to a managed move; if you are unsure, you should seek advice on this.

Further links and resources

Suspensions and Exclusions

Independent Review Panels (IRP’s)

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