What happens at the appeal hearing?

Who will hear our appeal?

The independent appeal panel will have three trained members. All school admission appeal panels must include one person who has experience of education, and at least one independent lay member. No person connected with the making of the original decision will be a member of the appeal panel, nor will any member of the local authority or the schools involved.

Who will be at the appeal hearing?

As well as the appeal panel, one officer from the Council’s Democratic Services Team will attend to clerk the appeal and offer advice to the panel on points of law and procedural matters. They will take no part in the decision-making process.

In the case of community and voluntary controlled school, an officer from Children’s Services will attend to explain why a place has not been offered to your child at your preferred school.  The headteacher may also attend to give additional information.

For voluntary aided schools and academies, the reasons for refusing a place will often be presented by the Headteacher and the Chair of Governors.

If you wish you may take a friend or relative to the appeal hearing with you for support.

How can I prepare for the hearing?

You will be given 14 days’ notice of the appeal hearing date.  At least 7 days before the hearing you will receive a summary of the school’s case that will be presented to the appeal panel stating why a place cannot be provided for your child at the preferred school.

You will have the right to speak at the appeal hearing to present your own case for why you want your child to attend the preferred school. You may like to make a note of what you would like to say to the appeal panel, and write down any questions you may wish to ask.  This will make sure that you do not forget any points you wish to make at the hearing.

If you have any written supporting evidence this should be provided before the appeal.

Can I be represented by a lawyer?

Yes, if you wish, but it is not necessary.  The local authority/governing body will not have a lawyer to present their case. The meeting will be as informal as possible.

What will happen at the appeal hearing?

The hearing will be as informal as possible. The chairperson of the panel will try to put you at your ease; however, certain procedures have to be followed to make sure that everyone making an appeal is given a fair chance to put their case.

The following is a summary of what usually happens:

  1. The local authority/governing body present their case. They will explain why your child has not been given a place at the school of your choice.
  2. You may ask questions.
  3. The panel members may ask questions.
  4. You present your case, explaining why you feel your child should be given a place.
  5. The local authority/governing body may ask you questions.
  6. The panel members may ask you questions.
  7. The local authority/governing body will sum up.
  8. You will sum up.
  9. The Chairperson will explain how you will receive the result of the hearing.
  10. You and the school representative will leave the appeal to allow the panel to make its decision in private.
  11. The appeal ends

Where multiple appeals are being heard for the same school, the appeal panel will hear all appeals before making a decision.

Do I have to attend the hearing?

You do not have to attend, although it is easier to explain your case if you are there in person.  If you do not wish to attend, or you are unable to attend on the date given, you should notify Democratic Services when you receive your invitation to the hearing.

If you do not attend the appeal without informing Democratic Services or without good cause, the appeal panel will consider your appeal in your absence after reading your appeal submission and the case presented by the representative for the school.