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Hertfordshire County Council

Our recruitment round for admission panel members is now open.

If you're interested in volunteering, submit an application and we'll contact you for an informal chat via Teams video-conference.

About the role

We get 1,400-2,000 school admissions appeals each year. The School Admissions Appeals Code requires that each is heard by Independent Appeal Panels which consist of 3 volunteers from various backgrounds.

Our School Appeals Service administers the appeals process, recruiting and supporting volunteers to carry out their role effectively and in line with the School Admissions Appeals Code.

We are currently looking for volunteers and actively encourage applications from people who belong to communities that are currently under-represented on our panels including:

  • Black, Asian and minority ethnic
  • a lived experience of special needs and/or disabilities
  • under 50s
  • travellers.

Volunteers can either be ‘experienced in education’ or ‘lay’ but cannot work for the local authority. They must also be able to consider cases impartially and independently.

Appeals are heard remotely via Microsoft Teams video-conferencing so volunteers need access to appropriate equipment and a confidential space to carry out their role.

All volunteers will be provided with initial and on-going training, with observations and feedback where needed. Expenses are also paid.

Admission appeal panel member work profile

Skills

  • Good interpersonal and communication skills
  • Good literacy and listening skills
  • Familiar with the principles of natural justice
  • Appreciation of each individual’s differing circumstances and backgrounds
  • Able to remain firm and calm
  • Have sound judgement
  • Integrity
  • Fairness
  • Courtesy
  • Tolerance
  • Decisiveness
  • Ability to work with other Panel members.

 

Requirements

  • To ensure you are kept up-to-date by attending training events and by reading briefing papers.
  • To be conversant and act in accordance with the DfE codes for School Admissions and School Admission Appeals.
  • To have regard to the “Best practice Guidance on School Admission Appeals” which is produced by the Administrative Justice and Tribunals Council in association with the National Association of School Appeal Clerks.
  • To act within the law as amended when hearing appeals and making decisions.
  • To adhere to the law and Hertfordshire County Council's policies on confidentiality, data protection and equal opportunities.
  • To ensure that the rules of natural justice are adhered to throughout.

 

Lay members

These are members without personal experience in the management or the provision of education in any school (except as a school governor or in another voluntary capacity).

 

Experience in education members

Those who have experience within education, are acquainted with educational conditions in the local authority area, or who are parents of registered pupils at school.

 

Eligibility

A person may not serve as a member of an appeal panel if they:

  • are a member of the local authority, which is the admission authority or in whose area the school in question is located
  • are a member or former member of the governing body of the school in question
  • are employed by the local authority or governing body of the school in question, other than as a teacher or as a teaching assistant;
  • have, or at any time has had, any connection with the authority, school or any person in the above bullet point which might reasonably be taken to raise doubts about that person’s ability to act impartially
  • have not attended training required by the admission authority or persons arranging the appeal panel on their behalf.

 

What you'll be doing

  • Sit on independent admission panels for the benefit of children, parents, schools and academies.
  • Ensure that parents feel they have had a fair and independent hearing and been given every opportunity to put their case and that the points they have made have been taken seriously and carefully considered.
  • Help parents feel that their appeal has been handled competently, fairly, and within the law.
  • Follow a two-stage decision making process for all admission appeals.

How much time you need to give

The amount of time needed for this work varies depending on the level of commitment you wish to give.

Appeals take place all year round, although the peak months are between May and July. Each appeal hearing lasts around 40 minutes. Appeals are usually grouped together to create a full day of hearings starting at 9am and finishing at approximately 5pm.

Location

Hearings take place via Teams video-conference. You will therefore need access to a computer / device which can access the internet. In-person hearings are only offered if there are access reasons preventing remote hearings.

Support

Full training will be provided before you are appointed to an appeal panel.

Expenses

This is voluntary work but members are given an expenses allowance towards subsistence and energy bills on the days that they are in hearings and training.

 

Admission appeal panels - what you need to know

If you'd like to know more, contact us:

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