Further information for applicants for the Independent Education Appeal Panel at Heckmondwike Grammar School
- A brief guide to school admission and exclusion appeals
- Attributes expected of panel members
- Application form
- Admissions Policy 2011 and Guide for parents wishing to Appeal
A brief guide to school admission and exclusion appeals
a) The Independent School Admission panel sits as and when required to hear appeals by parents against the decision by the school to refuse the child a place.
Admission appeals come in two forms: those made after the primary/ secondary admissions round and in year appeals. These will be referred to as summer and in year appeals respectively.
· Summer appeals relate to pupils being allocated entry level places at schools, either at reception or year seven. In 2010 the school received more than 50 of these.
· In year appeals can be submitted at any time and for any year group. They relate to either:
o pupils whose parents wish them to change schools
o or pupils who have recently moved into the area
b) The Independent School Exclusion Appeal Panel hears appeals by parents against decisions to exclude a pupil from the school permanently.
When sitting as an Admission Appeal Panel they have the power to direct the governing body of the school to admit the child to the school. The school must abide by their decision.
When sitting to hear exclusion appeals appeals, the panel can direct the school to reinstate the pupil, and the school must comply with the decision.
The panels at Heckmondwike usually consist of five members. It is possible for meetings go ahead with three members.
On Admission appeals the panel must have at least one lay member. This is someone who has not been involved professionally in running of a school or teaching in one. This does not stop someone who is (or has been) a school governor, or been involved with a school in a voluntary capacity from being a lay member.
When sitting to consider Admission s the panel must have at least one education member who either:
• Has experience in education (such as a teacher, active or retired); or
• Has knowledge of educational conditions in the local area - e.g. a social worker or an experienced school governor; or
• Is a parent of a registered pupil at another school.
When considering Exclusion appeals the panel must have at least one member from each of the following categories:
• A person who is or has been a head teacher of a maintained school within the past five years;
• A person eligible to be a lay member of an admissions panel (see above).
• A person who is or has been a governor of a maintained school (s/he must have served as a governor for at least 12 consecutive months within the last six years) and is not and has not been a teacher or head teacher.
The following are not eligible to serve on an exclusion panel:
• Anyone who has not attended a relevant training session within the past two years.
• Any member or former member of the Governing Body of Heckmondwike Grammar School
• Anyone employed by or at Heckmondwike Grammar School;
• Any former employees or governors of the school
• A parent of a child at the school;
• Anyone who has a close connection (eg family relationship or close friendship) with anyone in the above three sections may not hear appeals for Heckmondwike Grammar School.
Panel members will hear confidential information about pupils and parents, making discretion and integrity important qualities. Panel Members must approach each appeal with independence and impartiality. They must be good listeners - to both sides - and be seen to be listening by asking questions. They should be able to separate relevant and irrelevant facts, and under the chair's guidance come to a reasoned decision. The school representative and parents leave the meeting while the panel makes its decision.
While the school appoints and administers panels, they are independent bodies with their own chair and independent clerk. Whilst many parents can feel the panels just do what the school wants, this is certainly not the case.
At admission appeals, cases are presented by a senior member of staff of the school.
At exclusion appeals the head teacher argues the case for exclusion. Parents attend to present their case and they may be assisted by a friend or other representative. The school and parents may call witnesses. The school representative and parents leave the meeting while the panel makes its decision. Meetings are chaired by one of the panel members.
Admission Appeals in summer take place in June, during working hours and each appeal generally lasts 30 minutes. The time commitment can vary from year to year - normally they are spread over 4 days in June, as all the appeals need to be heard by the same panel members.
In year appeals are held when required and are usually are fitted in at the end of the school day. You will usually get two to three weeks notice of in year appeals.
Exclusion appeals can last up to two hours, these have to be heard within 15 school days of the appeal being received and therefore are called at short notice. Papers to be read before appeal hearings are sent to you about seven days beforehand.
Travelling expenses are paid and full details will be supplied on request. If the hearing needs a full day lunch is provided.
Panel meetings are supported by a legally qualified Clerk. S/he is present throughout the meetings providing independent legal advice and writes to parents with panel decisions. The administration for panel meetings is provided by the School.
All new panel members must attend a training session before they can hear appeals. Training is provided by consultants or by the Clerk.
When a panel makes a decision there is a winner and a loser and some parents are very unhappy to lose their appeals. Panel members will be indemnifies against any reasonable legal costs and expenses reasonably incurred by them in connection with any decision or action taken by them in good faith as part of their functions as panel members.
2. Panel members are expected to have the following attributes:
1. Ability to analyse facts, identify relevant evidence and reach reasonable and sustainable decisions.
2. Possession of tact and good interpersonal skills.
3. Ability to listen, understand facts and, if necessary, ask relevant questions in order to clarify issues.
4. Ability to respect the need for appropriate confidentiality.
5. Be prepared to commit sufficient time to the duties of the role,
6. Have an interest in education.
7. Experience of decision-making.
8. Broad understanding of the principles of natural justice, equalities issues and of human rights.
Any one interested in applying to be a member of the panel and requiring more information may contact The Clerk to the Governors by e-mail at email@example.com or by writing to the clerk at the school.
3. An application form may be obtained from the school or printed out from http://www.heckgrammar.co.uk/index.php?p=10681. Please complete it and return it to: Appeal Panels, Clerk to the Governors, Heckmondwike Grammar School, High Street, Heckmondwike, West Yorkshire, WF16 0AH.
4. Details of the Admission Policy and Guides for parents may be found on the school web site at: http://www.heckgrammar.co.uk/index.php?p=10842 and at http://www.heckgrammar.co.uk/index.php?p=10380
Closing date for applications: Friday 12 November 2010.
It is expected that interviews will be held in the week commencing 7 December 2010. We expect to provide training for these roles in March 2011.