SPECIALIST SUPPORT

Admission Appeals

Academies are their own admissions authority and must meet all the mandatory provisions of the Schools Admissions Code (‘the Code’) which came into force on 19 December 2014 (except where variations have been written into a funding agreement to support fair access).

It is the responsibility of admission authorities to ensure that admission arrangements are compliant with the Code which is supported by the School Admission Appeals Code.

The purpose of the Schools Admissions Appeals Code is to ensure the independence of admission appeal panels and to ensure that all admission appeals are conducted in a fair and transparent way.  The Code has the force of law.

Admission authorities must ensure panel members have received up to date and relevant training to include, as a minimum; the law relating to admissions; their duties under the Human Rights Act 1998 and Equality Act 2010; procedural fairness and natural justice and the roles of particular panel members.  The admission authority must also appoint a clerk to the appeal panel who is independent of the school and the education functions of the local authority.  The clerk must have knowledge of the School Admissions Code, the School Admission Appeals Code, other law relating to admissions and be able to offer advice to enable the panel to undertake its judicial function.

 

Pupil Exclusions & IRPs

Governors have a statutory obligation to consider the reinstatement of an excluded pupil where specific circumstances apply and must have regard to the current statutory guidance when making decisions on exclusions and administering the exclusion process.

Governors should have undergone exclusions training before they are called upon to sit on any pupil exclusion hearing panel.   The clerk to governors plays a significant role in the organisation of exclusion panel meetings, accurately recording the meeting and offering professional guidance to the governing board during the decision-making process.

Where parents dispute the outcome of a pupil exclusion hearing they have the right to request an independent review.  The academy trust has an obligation to constitute an independent review panel in line with statutory guidance and ensure that all panel members and the clerk have received training within the two years prior to the date of the review. This training must have covered: the requirements of the primary legislation, regulations and statutory guidance governing exclusions (which would include an understanding of how the principles applicable in an application for judicial review relate to the panel’s decision making); the need for the panel to observe procedural fairness and the rules of natural justice; the role of the chair of a review panel; the role of the clerk to a review panel; the duties of head teachers, governing boards and the panel under the Equality Act 2010; and the effect of section 6 of the Human Rights Act 1998 (acts of public authorities unlawful if not compatible with certain human rights) and the need to act in a manner compatible with human rights protected by that Act.

If requested by parents, with their application for an independent review panel, the academy trust must appoint a SEN expert.

Most governors do not take on their role expecting to be involved with pupil exclusions, however this is something that they may be called upon to do, and it is very important that their involvement is handled correctly


Your Berry Education Governance Partner will be fully trained with expert knowledge, equipped to both train panel members where required and/or act as clerk at hearings.  As clerk, your partner will:

    • support adherence to all statutory timelines;
    • notify parties of the order of proceedings in advance of the hearing;
    • respond to any queries received from appellants in advance of the hearing or identify and liaise with the appropriate person to provide a response;
    • attend the hearing and provide independent advice and guidance on law and procedure;
    • take responsibility for accurately minuting the hearing;
    • draft the panel’s written reasons for decision;
    • provide the written hearing outcome to all parties.

Due to the ad-hoc nature of admission appeals and pupil exclusion hearings or independent review panel requests it is difficult to determine the precise costs a school should budget for.

Contractual pricing terms for single and multiple hearings can be agreed in advance and fixed for
the academic year to support proactive budget management.

Trusts we work with..

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