The Independent Appeal Procedure
The panel is made up of 3 to 5 people who are independent (of the school), with at least one from each of two categories:
- Lay members – people without personal experience of the management or the provision of education
- People with experience of education in the area
The panel has an independent clerk who does not play a part in the decision making process but is there to support the panel and keep records.
Any additional written evidence should be with the Clerk to the Appeal Panel at least ten days before the Hearing.
Before the Hearing you will receive a copy of the school’s statement which will give reasons why your child has not been offered a place. The place to ask questions about this evidence is normally at the Appeal Hearing.
The Appeal Hearing
In 2021 Appeals will be heard in the week beginning 7 June and will be held in Heckmondwike. You will be given at least 10 days notice of the date and time. The independent panel will conduct the process as informally as possible. To ensure fairness the following procedures will be followed:
Who may attend?
- Parents / Guardians
- Family or friends to give support
- Representatives to give support or to make the case; these may include a locally elected politician, or an employee of the local education authority such as an educational social worker, SEN adviser or learning mentor, provided that this will not lead to a conflict of interest.
- Representatives of the school – they are there to answer questions and to put the school’s case – they are not part of the panel
Sons / daughters or other children should not be brought to the hearing.
You may choose not to attend and the panel will consider your written evidence.
What happens at the Hearing?
The appeals panel must decide if the school’s admission criteria were properly followed and are legal according to the school admissions appeals code.
- The person making the appeal and the presenting officer for the school are invited in at the same time.
- The Chair of the panel makes introductions and explains the procedures to be followed.
- The representatives of the school state the reasons for not offering a place.
- You and the panel have the chance to ask questions of the school.
- You state your case
- The school representatives or the panel members may ask you questions
- The school representative sums up their case
- You may sum up your case
- The panel members may ask further questions. The Appeal Hearing is then concluded and the panel will deliberate in the absence of the parties and in the presence of the Clerk.
After the Hearing
- The Panel make their decision and set out the reasons for that decision. This will normally be completed within 5 working days of the appeal hearing.
- The Clerk is instructed to write to you and the school to communicate the decision and the grounds for the decision.
- The decision of the Appeal Panel is final and binding on the school and you.
The Education Funding Agency’s (EFA) has a role in handling complaints from parents about independent appeal panels for admissions to academies. Parents should, however, be aware that the EFA can only review the process, not the decision made by the panel. An appeal against the decision not to admit would have to go through the courts. Anyone wishing to submit a complaint of maladministration by an independent appeal panel should:
- go to the appeals section on the Department for Education website or;
- send a completed complaints form to: firstname.lastname@example.org or;
- contact the Education Funding Agency if you need a paper form instead.