Your appeal hearing
Who attends the independent appeal hearing?
Appellant and their optional support
Friends and family
- Legal representative
We strongly recommend that appellants attend the hearing as they may provide vital information to the case on the day. However the case can be heard in their absence if they notify NISAAS, do not want to attend or just fail to attend on the day and have not already requested another date.
The clerk has knowledge of the School Appeals Code, the School Admissions Code, other law relating to admissions and other relevant law, and is able to offer advice to enable the panel to undertake its judicial function
The clerk’s role is to provide an independent and impartial service. They will provide an independent source of advice (or seek appropriate advice) on procedure and on admissions law; keep an accurate record of proceedings by taking detailed notes; and provide the parties with written notification of the panel’s decision.
The Independent Panel
The panel will consist of three people, one from each group below and the third can be from either group.
One of the panel will be Chair. They will lead the meeting and have a casting vote in any split decisions.
- Lay people being someone without personal experience in the management of any school or provision of education in any school, (except as a school governor or in another voluntary capacity);
- People who have experience in education, who are acquainted with educational conditions in the local authority area.
Members of the panel will have no link to your child’s current school or the school you are appealing for or any other school that forms part of your case.
Admission Authority Presenting Officer
The Presenting Officer’s role is to present the admission authority’s decision not to admit the child and to provide detailed answers to any questions about the case and about the school.
Local authority special educational needs advisor
Where a child has special education needs (SEN) but does not have an Education Health and Care plan, the admission authority may sometimes request that an SEN advisor (not linked to the school) attends to provide specialist information to the panel.
School representative (optional)
If the presenting officer is not from the school, the school may send a representative to support the presenting officer. Their only role is to answer specific questions about the school and provide important information.
Observer may attend some hearings. This is usually for training purposes or to review the process – they will play no part in the hearing.
What are the different types of hearings?
Your appeal maybe heard as part of a multiple group appeal or as an individual hearing.
The panel members can ask questions at any time throughout any type of hearing.
Multiple group appeals
Multiple appeals are arranged when a number of appeals have been received in relation to the same school.
Admission authorities must take all reasonable steps to ensure that the same panel hears each of the multiple appeal hearings. Where this is not possible and more than one panel has to consider appeals for the same school, each panel must make its own decision independently. A panel hearing multiple appeals must not make decisions on any of hearings until all the appeals for that school have been heard.
An individual appeal is where the hearing is only with one family throughout – for stage 1 and stage 2.
Order of the hearings
- Final opportunity for all parties to disclose knowledge of each other.
- The chair of the appeal panel explains the appeals process and the order of business to all parties.
- The admission authorities presenting officer explains why the child was not offered a place at that school, known as the Admission Authority’s verbal statement.
- The appellant and the panel questions on the Admission Authority’s statement.
Appeal hearings only move to stage 2 if the case is not upheld upon conclusion of stage 1
- The appellant or their friend or formal representative explains why they think the child should be admitted to the school and supply any supporting documents that may help their case.
- The presenting officer and the panel ask the appellant questions about their case.
- The presenting officer from the admission authority will sum up their case.
- The appellant is given the opportunity to sum up their case.
- If the chair is happy that everyone has had an opportunity to sum up their case, the appellant and the presenting officer from the admission authority will be asked to leave.
For multiple group appeals, the order of the hearing is the same but at stage 1 the presenting officer will state his case to a group of parents/carers all appealing for the same school, in the same year group. Each group will then have an opportunity to question the presenting officer as a group. This means all parties will hear the questions and the answers.
Following the group section of the appeal after the conclusion of Stage 1, if applicable the hearing will move to Stage 2. At Stage 2 each appellant will then have a private hearing where they present their own case.