Where a child is refused a place at a school their parents or carers are entitled to appeal against that decision. The York School Appeals Team co-ordinates appeals for all maintained schools within York, both primary and secondary, as well as several Academy schools where the relevant Multi Academy Trust (MAT) has signed up for the co-ordination service.
The busiest period for appeals is between May and August. However, appeals will continue to be heard throughout the school year as parents or carers request a change of school for their child or make new applications when moving into (or within) the area.
Appeals are heard by a panel made up of 3 volunteer members, who will consider the arguments for a child being allocated a place at their preferred school as well as the reasons behind the initial refusal. The panel will then decide whether the appeal should be upheld, in which case a place will be offered at the preferred school, or not upheld, with the original decision to refuse admission remaining unchanged.
Each panel must contain 1 member from each of the following categories, with the third taken from either, one of whom will be appointed as Chair:
This is a person who has no personal experience of the management of any school or the provision of education in any school. People with experience as a school governor, or in another voluntary capacity, would be eligible for consideration as a Lay Member.
This is a person who does have personal experience in education, is acquainted with educational conditions within York, or is the parent of a registered pupil at a school in York.
Parents or carers may also request that a decision to permanently exclude a child from school be reviewed by an independent panel. Exclusion review panels must be made up of the following:
- a Lay Member, who will chair the panel
- a current or former school governor, who has served for at least 12 consecutive months within the past 5 years (but has not been employed as a teacher or head teacher within that time)
- a current or former head teacher, who has served within the past 5 years
Becoming a panel member
We're looking to appoint several Lay and Non-Lay volunteer panel members to assist with the hearing of both admission appeals and exclusion reviews within York. No specific qualifications or experience are required, but if any of the following statements apply to you then the role of a volunteer panel member might be a good fit:
- you have excellent listening and communication skills
- you're able to assess information and ask the appropriate questions to clarify any points of uncertainty
- you're able to weigh up two sides of an argument and reach a fair and reasoned decision
- you're able to work as part of a team and voice your opinions in a clear, calm, and concise manner
- you're able to put people at ease in potentially sensitive situations
- you're interested in having some involvement in the education of children within York
Appeals are generally held during term time and will take place between 9.00am and 5.00pm Monday to Friday, with an average appeal lasting for approximately 1 hour. Where there are multiple appeals for a particular school these will ordinarily be scheduled together over 1 or more days. Where only a small number of appeals are received for a school, these may be timetabled alongside appeals for other schools in order to create either a full or half day of appeal hearings. Panel members will be asked for their availability before appeals are scheduled and are free to accept or decline any requests received.
Appeals may be held remotely (via Microsoft Teams) or in person at West Offices. Reasonable travel expenses will be reimbursed for panel members attending appeals in person, and where in person appeals are scheduled for an entire day lunch will also be provided free of charge.
Full training on the School Admissions Code, School Admission Appeals Code and Suspension and Permanent Exclusion Guidance will be arranged for new panel members, including refresher training at appropriate intervals. All appeals are co-ordinated by a Clerk who will be on hand to offer guidance throughout the process.
Unfortunately, we can't accept applications from anyone who is employed by City of York Council (other than as a teacher/head teacher) or who is an elected Member of the Council.
If you have connections with any specific school or Academy Trust within York you will not be able to hear appeals relating to that school or Trust but may still be eligible to hear other appeals. Any such connections should be declared when applying for a role as a volunteer panel member.
If you have any questions about becoming a volunteer panel member, please contact us.