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HOW WILL THE CORONAVIRUS AFFECT MY APPEAL?
In common with all organisations we are following the advice of the Government’s medical advisors. Panel members are trained volunteers and many are seniors; we would not like to put them or you at unnecessary risk.
However, we would not wish to leave vulnerable parents not knowing which school their children will be attending in September 2020. Some organisations and Councils may postpone appeals; that is not an option we would like to take unless absolutely necessary.
Where possible our appeals will proceed, taking into account official advice given to panels and the courts. The courts have been told to use technology and so shall we.
Normally, there is one stage 1 hearing where all parents are invited to attend a large gathering in person. This will not be possible.
Instead, we propose to hold the stage 1 hearing by video streaming. You will be able to see the stage 1 hearing on your home computer, laptop, tablet or smartphone. After the school has presented their case, the Panel Chair will invite questions from the panel and will then ask parents to submit questions via an on-screen chat box. You will be able to hear the questions read by the Chair and the answers given by the school. It is your choice if you want to ask a question about the school’s case. Do remember that you do not talk about your own family at stage 1 – this is just questions about the school’s case. A copy of the school’s case will be posted or emailed to you before the hearing.
We would suggest that you download ‘Zoom for Cloud’ now from either the Apple or Goggle stores onto your smart phone or tablet. Or view www.zoom.us on your desktop or laptop computer. Registration and use of this program is free if connected to the internet. In both cases, follow the instructions to register to join a meeting. Further instructions will be sent with your letter of invitation and this may be sent by e mail.
The appeal’s code at section 2.15 allows for hearings to be conducted without a parent being present providing that the Clerk remains present at all times.
2.15 Admission authorities must ensure that appeal hearings are held in private and are conducted in the presence of all panel members and parties. One party must not be left alone with the panel in the absence of the other. Where one party is unable to or has failed to attend the clerk must remain with the panel and remaining party at all times.
Stage 2, where parents present their case is still fluid and will depend on the situation at the time of the hearing. It is highly likely that most stage 2 hearings will be conducted by phone or video link using ‘What’s App”. In your letter of invitation, you will be asked if you have access to What’s App. This program allows you to see and listen to the hearing.
What’s App can be downloaded from either the Apple or Google stores. Registration and use is free if connected to the internet.
Please check this website for updates.