School Admissions Appeals – Can you Volunteer as an Independent Panel Member
Can you spare a few days each month?
Would you relish the opportunity to make a real difference in the lives of children and families in Sandwell?
We are looking for new volunteers to become members of the Sandwell School Admissions Independent Appeals Panel to hear appeals against the refusal of a school place. Panel members must be able to make balanced decisions to ensure that parents and schools receive a fair appeal hearing. If you believe you would be able to help and this is of interest, please consider joining our School Admissions Appeals Panel.
What does it mean?
Parents and carers have the legal right to appeal against the admission authority’s decision to refuse their child a place at their preferred school. These appeals are heard by an independent panel of volunteers. As a panel member you will be expected to read the case notes in advance of the hearing, actively participate in the appeal hearing and decide whether to allow the appeal or not. Panel members are supported by a Clerk prior to and throughout the hearing.
Where and when
Appeals are heard during the week (Monday – Friday) between the hours of 9:30am and 5:00pm. Many appeal hearings will not last the full day, except during busy periods (May to July). Appeal hearings are heard remotely using Microsoft Teams so you will need access to a computer in a private setting.
No minimum commitment or duration, you chose how often or not you sit on a Panel.
Appeals take place all year round and you will normally have plenty of notice if we require you to sit. The busiest period is between May and July, when we hear appeals about decisions on admittance to secondary school (Year 7), junior school (Year 3), and primary school (Reception). During this busy period there may be a requirement to attend hearings for multiple days.
No special qualifications or experience are required as training will be provided. We welcome volunteers from people of all ages and backgrounds, both with and without experience in education matters. The only requirement is your time and your desire to achieve the best outcomes for our children and their families. You will need to commit to a full day’s training, which will likely be in early 2024. If you are unable to attend this training, you will not be able to join our pool of volunteers.
The work is voluntary, and members are eligible to claim expenses.
If you are interested and have some questions please contact us by emailing Democratic Services at DSU_schoolappeals@sandwell.gov.uk
If you would like to volunteer, complete, and return the attached application below and we will contact you upon receipt.