County Council seeks new Education Appeal Panel members

05 November 2019

Nottinghamshire County Council is looking for people who have an interest in supporting children’s education and can spare at least 10 days a year to serve as an Education Appeal Panel member.

If a child is refused a place at a school, they are entitled to an appeal against that decision through an independent appeals panel. To make sure that they are independent and impartial, these panels are made up of volunteers from all walks of life who bring a range of experience, skills and views to the role. The appeals process depends on the involvement of volunteers as panel members.

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 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.

To be a panel member you do not need to have any legal qualifications or always have a formal background in education. We’re looking for people who have:

• 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.

All Panel Members will receive training before taking up their duties. Following the initial training, panel members are expected to commit to a minimum of 10 days of hearings each year.

We currently need new members for panels in Kirkby in Ashfield, Newark, Worksop, Mansfield, County Hall, West Bridgford.
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 ensure the appeal runs smoothly.

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). We will work with you to decide which category you fit into, based on your experience.

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.

Reasonable travelling expenses will be paid, and refreshments will be provided. In some instances, panel members may be compensated for loss of earnings.

Nottinghamshire county councillors, county council employees (other than teachers and teaching assistants) can’t sit on a panel. 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 those appealing.

If you are interested in joining the County Council’s pool of panel members, please complete an application form and return it by the 22nd November 2019. We aim to interview all shortlisted candidates before Christmas.

If you would like further information, please contact Peter Astbury on 0115 977 3887 or via email at education.appeals@nottscc.gov.uk



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