Volunteers needed for independent school admission appeals panels

Friday, February 09, 2018

Volunteers are needed to help to decide on appeals by parents for school places.

Lancashire County Council is looking to recruit people from a diverse range of backgrounds and experience to join its independent appeals panels. These panels are set up to consider appeals from parents who have missed out on their preferred school.

When a child is refused a place at a school or academy of their choice, they are entitled to appeal against the decision. Panel members will consider the reasons for the parents’ choice of school, as well as the reasons why a place hasn't been allocated, and make a decision as to whether the refusal should be upheld or overruled.

Each panel consists of three people. This includes someone with no paid experience of education, known as a lay member, and also someone with some experience such as a teacher, or governor. A trained clerk will advise on legal and administrative issues. Each of the panel members must be independent of the authority, school and the families involved.

Appeals take place throughout the year, but the majority are held between May and July. The appeals are arranged so that they are heard for half a day or a full day depending on the amount received. Occasionally you will be required to be available for a full week.

County Councillor Susie Charles, Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Schools, said: "Independent appeal panels are very important and the work is so rewarding.

"You don't need specialist knowledge or educational expertise. We need people with a good mix of skills and backgrounds who can bring different viewpoints and experience and fresh ideas with them."

The role would suit people with excellent listening skills, as well as the ability to put people at ease and assess evidence to determine each appeal.

Panel members are appointed for a term of three years. Some of the skills and experience needed include:

• Good interpersonal and communication skills
• Good literacy and listening skills
• Able to remain firm and calm
• Integrity
• Fairness
• Ability to get on with other people and to work as part of a team
• Ability to make decisions based upon current legislation and guidance
• Be prepared to keep all information confidential

The role would give you the opportunity of using existing skills, and developing new ones and people from as wide a range of backgrounds as possible are invited to apply. Members will have the support of a fully trained and experienced clerk.

No formal qualifications are required but you must be:

• Aged 18 or over
• Available during the day (Monday to Friday)
• Willing to attend regular panel meetings throughout the county
• Willing to undertake training

Full training and support will be given to make sure people are fully equipped to carry out the role successfully.

Expenses are paid to carry out the role, including reasonable travel costs.

To find out more, or to request an application pack, please contact the central pupil access team on 01772 531656 or email shamim.javed@lancashire.gov.uk

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Tagged as: Council Jobs, Employment and Volunteering


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