Detailed guidance on school admission appeals

4. Who will be at the hearing?

You can attend and speak at the hearing.

Also, you can bring:

  • a friend, adviser or legal representative (though you should not need legal representation)
  • witnesses to speak at the hearing (please tell the appeal clerk or administrator ahead of the hearing)
  • an interpreter or signer to speak on your behalf (please tell us when you submit your appeal)

Independent Appeal Panel

Appeal panels are independent of the Admission Authority, and Panel members volunteer their time to hear school appeals. Their decisions are binding on Admission Authorities.

They must not have any direct connections with the school that is the subject of the appeal. There are 3 members on a panel and one will act as the Panel Chair. Members of panels must be:

  • lay people (without experience in school management or teaching – except as a school governor or volunteer)
  • people with experience in education, understand educational conditions in the local authority area, or are parents of school pupils.

Admission Authority representative

The Admission Authority has a presenting officer who gives the reasons why your application was refused. The presenting officer should give information clearly in language you understand. The presenting officer will be there throughout the hearings to answer detailed questions about:

  • the case
  • the school (and its admission arrangements), and
  • local coordinated admission arrangements.

Clerk to the Appeal Panel

The Clerk is not a member of the panel but has an important role. They make sure the panel hears all relevant facts and the appeal hearing is fair. The Clerk’s role is to:

  • explain the appeal process and answer your questions before the hearing (the Chair or Clerk may answer questions during the hearing)
  • be an independent source of advice (or to seek appropriate advice). Clerks advise on procedure, school admissions and school admission appeals codes, and on the law on admissions. Where practicable, they share advice with all parties.
  • make sure that both you and the admission authority can present relevant facts at the hearing.
  • The clerk helps the panel, admission authority and appellants with procedure and seeks advice when the Chair asks.
  • take notes on what happened, who attended, the outcome of votes, panel decisions and reasons. All notes and records the Clerk takes are the property of the panel. They are not normally available after the hearing. Only the Local Government Ombudsman or a court can ask to see them.

Considering making an appeal?