Become a school appeals panel member

When a school has received more applications than places, it is oversubscribed. This means that further applications for places at the school will be refused.

Therefore a number of parents cannot be offered their choice of school for their child.

Parents or carers can the appeal this decision. This appeal is heard by a panel that is independent of both the school and the Admissions Authority. 

What school appeals panels do

The panel decides if a school appeal is successful or not. Their decision is legally binding. A school will have to admit a child if the panel upholds their appeal.

Appeal hearings take place throughout the school year. The busiest time is from April to July each year.

Appeals take place for applications made for year of entry: Reception, Infant to Junior (Y3) and Y6 to Y7. They also take place for applications that are made outside of this time during midterm. This is when parents or carers want their child to move schools.

Panel member requirements

Each panel must have at least one member who has not been involved professionally in the running of a school or of teaching in one. There must also be at least one panel member with current or previous experience of education. This means that applications are welcome whether you have experience of schools or not.

You need to be:

  • impartial
  • objective
  • sensitive
  • a good listener

Panel members must be able to:

  • communicate effectively with a wide range of people
  • read and assess information and identify key points/issues
  • listen to information and identify key points and issues
  • ask questions to obtain information and clarify points being made
  • analyse information and use it to form opinions and conclusions
  • treat all parties equally
  • obtain and weigh up evidence to reach reasoned decisions based on that evidence
  • be willing to work as part of a team

What is the time commitment

Appeal hearings take place remotely during working hours in the school term. Depending on the school and the time of year, the number of appeals heard can vary significantly.

Appeal hearings for a very oversubscribed school can stretch over several days.

Papers for the hearings will be sent to you in advance. You are expected to read through them and have an awareness of the family/school issues.

If you find any problems, you have to raise them in advance of the hearing. You can also raise them with the clerk at the briefing time prior to the appeals commencing.

You have to check the papers to ensure you don’t have a conflict of interest with either the family or the preferred/allocated School.

You will be asked in advance for your availability and can commit to as many days as you like. You will also be asked to attend the online annual training session to comply with regulations.

What support and training will I receive

All new members must attend an online induction session before they can hear appeals.

In addition to the annual training, regular written update briefings and a panel member newsletter are also circulated.

At all hearings you will have the support of a fully trained and experienced clerk. They are there to provide independent legal advice. They also keep a record of the hearings and write to the parents with panel decisions.

You also have the support of the appeals team. We organise panel meetings, distribute papers and liaise with panel members and all parties to the hearings.

How to apply

Fill in an application form and return it to the appeals team. 

Panel members are encouraged to contact the appeals office at any time and speak with a clerk if they have any queries or need support on appeal matters.

Contact School Appeals

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