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Saturday, 25 April 2020 12:44

Coronavirus: School Appeals in Kent & Medway Part 4

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Index

Some General Principles in the Regulations (selected from the document as being particularly relevant.
  • The overriding principles governing all appeals are procedural fairness and natural justice.  I am sorry but this is simply not true.  In the case of video (or telephone, even more difficult to visualise) conferencing, a massive advantage falls to those comfortable with using the facility.
  • The School Admissions Appeals Code has not been amended by these temporary regulations, and the vast majority of its requirements remain appropriate and must still be complied with.
  • Where face-to-face hearings cannot take place, hearings should be conducted by telephone or video conference. Where telephone or video conference is not possible, appeals conducted entirely on the basis of written submissions are acceptable. At least  three Local Authorities have now decided on their policies (written 27/4): Somerset and Hertfordshire (Telephone Conferencing, details to follow 24th April update); also Northamptonshire which has  published this policy at face value without amplification. Most have not, although time is passing. The written submission option is relegated to being only acceptable when telephone or video conference are not possible. The clerk is required to contact all appellants preferably by telephone (see below) to establish if they have the necessary equipment. There is no mention of whether appellants are to be asked or assessed (how?) if they have the competence  or confidence to manage a conference hearing. Too many will sign up to the procedure through not wishing to  appear inadequate and perhaps damage their chances . This judgement by the clerk appears to be placing a great responsibility on him or her, who will in most cases have no training nor have been expected to have the ability to carry out this critical task.   
  • Appeal panels must be transparent, accessible, independent and impartial, and operate according to principles of natural justice (Accessible? Natural justice?). The clerk must keep an accurate record of proceedings.
  • Parents retain the right to raise a complaint of maladministration on the part of the appeal panel (one can only hope that the authorities have factored in the large increase in complaints and the resources need to manage them, including the large additional workload that will fall onto schools. However, the very low historical rate of success should mean they will be easy to deal with)
  • The temporary regulations work to ensure that the appeals process can continue during school closures by removing references to ‘school days’.
New Deadlines and Timescales
There are various temporary changes to the regulations to ease the timetable and introduce flexibility (but only timetable flexibility, none in process).

Read 1137 times Last modified on Saturday, 23 May 2020 10:35

2 comments

  • Comment Link Monday, 27 April 2020 18:03 posted by Natalie Owens

    I have had an email from KCC stating I should hear from schools as to procedure end of this week/beginning of next. Although I note in your information about they are not due to have a meeting until 5th May? PETER: Thanks for that and I have now removed the reference to the Meeting as I presume it is simply to explain agreed procedure to those involved (and good luck to them)

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