School Appeals Advice and Support in the Local Education Authority of Northamptonshire County Council
Jane Sutton Education Consultant supplies advice and support for school admissions appeals within the Local Education Authority of Northamptonshire County Council.
Have you been refused a place for your child to attend their preferred school?
You can apply for any school you wish for your child, but this does not mean you will be given a place at that school. Most popular schools are over-subscribed, which means every year disappointed families, like yourselves, need to consider all their options and make decisions about what to do next.
Every parent who is refused a place for their child must be offered the right of appeal.
If you decide to appeal you will find yourself on a lengthy journey, that in normal circumstances can be difficult to navigate due to legal obstacles and official procedures and protocols. You may often feel anxious and stressed leading up to the appeal hearing, which can be extremely daunting, often likened to a 'mini court' with feelings of being 'on trial'.
Whilst the appeal hearings are meant to be informal, they come under the umbrella of a ‘tribunal’ and must follow statutory legal requirements. Therefore, with having to adhere to such strict legal parameters, appeal hearings are mostly very formal occasions.
COVID 19: Reflecting on 2020 Appeals and moving forward to 2021
The information above is regarding normal circumstances, but we are not living in normal circumstances, we are living in the midst of a global pandemic where every aspect of everyday life has changed. Appeal hearings are no exception, new government regulations were introduced on 24 April 2020 to remove the requirement for appeals panels and all other parties to be together in the same room. As an alternative, flexibility was allowed for appeal panels to hold hearings by telephone, video conference or through a purely paper-based appeal where all parties could make representations in writing.
The temporary 2020 regulations that were due to end on 31 January 2021 have been extended until 30 September 2021. Therefore, all appeals during that time will be arranged according to this legislation, unless things change dramatically, and conditions allow face to face hearings to safely take place again.