Decision Maker: Children and Families
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: No
Is subject to call in?: Yes
10 APPOINTMENT OF EDUCATION APPEALS PANEL MEMBERS - The Director: Governance and Partnerships submitted a report seeking approval to appoint independent members who could be called upon to sit on either the Education Admission Appeals Panel or Independent Review Panel to hear appeals in respect of school admissions and exclusions.
The council was the admissions authority for community and voluntary controlled schools and was responsible for ensuring compliance with the Department for Education (DfE) Schools Admissions Code. The Code covered the arrangements for appeals made against refusal of a place at a school. Appeals were heard by an Independent Appeals Panel, which consisted of three or five members, including at least one "education expert” and at least one "lay member”.
The council was also required, in line with the DfE Exclusions from Maintained Schools, Academies and Pupil Referral Units in England statutory guidance, to arrange an independent review panel hearing in response to a parent request following a permanent exclusion of their child from school.
The council made arrangements for Education Admission Appeals Panel and Independent Review Panel hearings on behalf of maintained schools and provided this service to Academy schools under a Service Level Agreement.
The existing pool of panel members was very experienced and was relatively small in the context of recent demand for appeal hearings.
The pool comprised 16 panel members. However, as a result of all appeals being held virtually in accordance with the updated regulations School Admissions (England) (Coronavirus) (Appeals Arrangements) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 (the 2020 regulations), the council was currently only able to draw upon the services of 11 panel members, as some members did not feel confident or comfortable with the software that was required to take part in remote appeals sessions.
Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, it looked very likely that appeals would be held remotely for some time, which would mean having fewer panel members available for appeals going forward. As such the council was always open to applications from potential new members, which would possibly help to enlarge the available pool.
Two applications to join the panel had recently been received.
Resolved – That the proposal to appoint the two applicants, as set out in Appendix 1 to the report, with a view to new members receiving training and being gradually introduced onto panels during 2021, be approved.
Publication date: 28/01/2021
Date of decision: 27/01/2021
Decided at meeting: 27/01/2021 - Children and Families Cabinet Member
Effective from: 02/02/2021