Education Appeal Panel Member Recruitment

We need volunteers to join the Education Appeal Panel, to help review school place appeals from parents.

Parents have a right to appeal a school admission decision if they have been refused a place at the school they would prefer their child to attend. The panel is made up of independent volunteers to ensure impartiality.

The role of a Panel Member

Whenever a child is refused a place at a school they are entitled to an appeal against that decision through an independent appeals panel. In order to ensure independence and impartiality, panels are made up of volunteers from all walks of life, who bring with them a range of experience, skills and views.

Panels need to be able to make fully-informed, reasoned and impartial decisions, in line with relevant laws and guidance. As a Panel Member you will need to thoroughly read and understand all the paperwork and evidence that you will be sent in preparation for an appeal and listen carefully to the representations from both parties at the hearing. You will need to ask appropriate questions, in a sensitive manner before reaching your decisions.

Each appeal hearing consists of three panel members one of which is also the chair. In addition, there is an independent clerk present throughout the hearing to give advice and guidance and to facilitate the effective running of the appeal.

Can anyone be a Panel Member?

The role of Panel Member is open to people with a wide range of experience, with each panel needing to consist of at least one person with experience of the provision of education (non-lay member) and at least one person without such experience (lay member). Together, we will decide which category you fit into, based on your experience.

All Panel Members need to receive training prior to being involved and we will provide this training free of charge. Panel Members will also need to be able to take part in MS Teams meetings and will need to have the IT equipment to enable them to do so.

The following people are not able to be a Panel Member for Nottinghamshire County Council:

  • Nottinghamshire County Councillors
  • Employees of Nottinghamshire County Council (other than teachers and teaching assistants)

Also, you may be ruled out of being involved in specific hearings if you have any connection with the relevant Council, the school, governing body or appellants.

The personal attributes needed

To be a panel member you do not need to have any legal qualifications or a formal background in education. The skills and experience we are looking for are

  • Good reading, listening and communication skills
  • Excellent questioning skills, ensuring questions are appropriate in scope and asked in a sensitive manner, to help you gain the information needed to reach a fully-informed, impartial decision
  • Excellent decision-making skills
  • The ability to be part of a team whilst also being able to work independently and justify your own decisions.
  • A commitment to fairness, impartiality and equality.
  • A friendly and welcoming manner
  • Reliability, punctuality and resilience
  • A willingness and ability to take advice where appropriate.

How much work is involved?

Following the initial training, Panel Members are expected to commit to at least 10 days of hearings each year (this can be increased if you feel you have further scope to get involved).

What we offer in exchange

The admissions and appeals processes can seem complicated and daunting to many parents and carers. The appeals process is entirely dependent on the involvement of volunteers as Panel Members. Many Panel Members take a great deal of fulfilment and satisfaction in knowing that their involvement enables a fair and inclusive setting through which appellants and admission authorities are given an opportunity to state their cases. For some Panel Members, this voluntary role is also helpful for their career, providing them with relevant work and life experience and a range of transferable skills.

We operate a pool of Panel Members and therefore you may be sitting with a wide range of colleagues. Panel Members have fed back how much they welcome the teamwork and variety which this approach offers.

Refresher training is provided on an annual basis and covers a wide range of subjects. Panel Members can develop their skills further, going on to become Chairs of Panels where appropriate.

We will pay reasonable travelling expenses and provide refreshments (and a lunch where appropriate). We can also compensate Panel Members for loss of earnings in some circumstances.


  • Kirkby in Ashfield
  • Newark
  • Worksop
  • Mansfield
  • County Hall, West Bridgford

Appeals are currently being conducted virtually via MS Teams. This will continue until it is considered appropriate to recommence face to face hearings.

Interested in becoming a Panel Member?

If you would like to join our pool of Panel Members, please complete an application form [Word] and return it by 18 March 2022 by email to or by post to

Education Appeals
Chief Executive’s Department
County Hall
West Bridgford

If you would like further information, please take a look at our Frequently Asked Questions [PDF], or contact Peter Astbury on 0115 977 3887 or via email at

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