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Tuesday, 05 May 2020 20:02

Coronavirus and School Appeals in Kent and Medway: Part Five


Other Admission Authorities
In the case of Local Authority (LA) maintained schools, the LA is the Admission Authority and is responsible for school appeals. In the case of Multi Academy Trusts, Single Academy Trusts, Foundation Schools and Voluntary Aided Schools, they are responsible for organising their own appeals. In all these latter cases, they may ask another body, sometimes the LA, to carry out some or all of their admission appeal functions on their behalf. However, the admission authority remains responsible for ensuring these functions are carried out properly. At present, I have come across the following:
Virtual Audio Hearings
Somerset: (2019: 131 Secondary Appeals).
'In Somerset, we are intending to hold virtual audio hearings and are currently working with Appeal Panel members to facilitate this as quickly as possible. Unfortunately we have seen a reduction in the number of Appeal Panel members, who are unpaid and trained volunteers, that are able to participate'.
Hertfordshire (2019: 771 Secondary Appeals)
'Secondary transfer appeals will be conducted via telephone conference call this year. We are awaiting official guidance from the Department for Education on 24 April and will publish more detail after that'. 

In neither of these cases is there any explanation of how the problems I have identified in previous articles will be resolved. Neither gives any indication yet of how the many appellants who find the concept difficult will have their situation resolved to make it fair for them. Neither as yet gives any indication of how ‘The chair should ensure the remote access appeal is held in private’, without any control or even awareness of what is happening at the appellant’s end of the telephone line, or even who is actually participating.

For multiple appeals for the same school and year group stage 1 will be heard on paper and stage 2 by audio. Parents who have decided, or who wish to decide, for their appeal hearing to be heard on paper will still be heard in this way. 
Video Conferencing
Northamptonshire (2019: 634 Secondary Appeals)
'We have decided to conduct virtual appeal hearings using Zoom technology where you will be able to participate in your appeal remotely using your own computer, tablet or smart phone. If this is not possible, it will be necessary for your appeal to be considered and determined based on your written submission and evidence provided'. My previous articles have looked at the problems that come with this procedure, but at least there is provision, if unfair, for those unable to access it.
And two non-LA based Admission Authorities also offering the hybrid version of this.  One has  a large number of appellants do not have English as their first language, which only adds to the problem. The other, having announced its procedure in outline, appears now to be struggling  with the detail. 

Last modified on Monday, 25 May 2020 15:37


  • Comment Link Thursday, 07 May 2020 06:10 posted by Jan Yardley

    You appear satisfied with the KCC model. Can you see it being widely accepted. PETER: I believe that for many schools with large numbers of appeals or which are grammar schools, it is the only way forward. We will only know for certain when there are examples in practice.

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