Children, Families & Learning Cabinet Member – Minutes – 3 May 2018

68 (68) APPOINTMENT OF EDUCATION APPEALS PANEL MEMBERS – The Director: Governance and Partnerships submitted a report seeking approval for the appointment of 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 were 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 panel hearings.  In order to ensure that appeals could be heard within the required timescales and that there was a sufficient balance of representation amongst panel members, the council had recently undertaken a recruitment drive seeking new members.

The Cabinet Member recently appointed four new members (minute 58 refers).  Two further applications had since been received.

Resolved – That the two applicants, as set out in Appendix 1 to the report, be appointed with a view to new members receiving training and being gradually introduced onto panels during 2018.

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