Do you have a connection with East London or Central Kent? Interested in education and want to get involved?
For nearly 30 years, parents who have not been offered a place at their preferred school have had the right to appeal to an Admission Appeals Panel.
Appeals panels are tribunals, independent of Local Authorities and own Admission Authorities. Panels consist of three trained people working on a voluntary basis. Their decisions are final and legally binding on all parties.
The work of a panel member is interesting and is a way of contributing something back to the community.
Panels should reflect the local community. We welcome applications from anyone who lives or has a connection with East London’s diverse community or Kent for the appeal panels that meet in Kent.
Who Can Become a Panel Member?
Members of the panel come from a range of backgrounds and no special qualifications are required. Applications are invited from anyone who considers that they are eligible and interested in the provision of education. The annual selection process usually takes place in the autumn of each year.
Access to a computer and e mail, although not necessary, would be helpful.
Admissions Appeals Panels consist of 3 members and are appointed from the following categories:-
- People who have professional experience of education or are parents of a registered pupil at a school. At least one Panel Member must fall within this category.
- People who are considered to be lay members, This is someone who has not been professionally involved in the running of a school or teaching in one. However, this does not stop anyone who is (or has been) a school governor, or otherwise involved in a voluntary capacity (e.g. on the PTA) from being a Lay Member. At least one Panel Member must fall within this category.
What qualifications and training do I need?
There are no qualifications to becoming a panel member.
Appointed panel members will need to attend a one day training course to help you understand the law and the appeals process. This will include the Admission and Appeal codes published by the Secretary of State for Education. Before you can sit as a Panel Member, you will also need to shadow two hearings.
You cannot sit on an appeals panel for any school that you are or have been involved in the past. This is to ensure that the panel can act and can been seen to act, fairly and impartially at all times.
Panel members receive training updates annually. To continue to serve on panels, you must attend these sessions.
What qualities do I need?
You must be able to approach each appeal with independence and impartiality. You must be a good listener and be seen to be listening by asking relevant questions and interested in hearing both sides of the argument.
You should be able to separate relevant and irrelevant facts and under the Chairman’s guidance come to a reasoned decision. Good old fashioned common sense is also a useful tool!
How much of my time would I have to give?
Panel sit all year round with appeals being held as and when required. Appeals take place during working hours and are usually somewhere local to the schools appeals being heard.
From September to March, a panel meets roughly every three weeks. From April to July this increases to a couple of times a week. Usually a full day is set aside to hear a number of appeals and each appeal generally takes around 20 – 30 minutes.
Occasionally, appeals may be heard over a number of days, for example where there are a lot of appeals for a very popular school; however the Clerk to the Panel will always advise this when checking your availability.