Independent School Appeal Panel Member
Are you interested in education?
Do you have free time during the day?
Would you like to contribute to your local community?
If so, then becoming an Independent School Appeal Panel Member could be a really rewarding experience for you. Knowsley Borough Council is currently seeking volunteers to join its pool of Independent School Appeal Panel Members in the following categories:-
- Lay Members – this is someone without any personal experience in the management of any school or the provision of education in any school (except as a school governor or in another voluntary capacity); or
- Education Members – this is someone who has experience in education, such as a current or former teacher, who is familiar with educational structures and conditions in the Knowsley area, or who are parents of Registered Pupils at a school.
What is a School Appeal and what does the Panel Member do?
Parents/Carers have the legal right to appeal against an admission authority's decision to refuse their child a place at their preferred school. These appeals are heard by an independent panel of three individuals. As a panel member, you will read the case papers in advance of the hearing, actively participate in the appeal hearing process and help to decide whether to uphold or dismiss the parent’s/ carer's appeal. Decisions are made in private and the Clerk of the appeal completes all the written communication.
How much time will this take up? When are the appeals held?
The appeal hearings in Knowsley are held via online Microsoft Teams meetings. Ordinarily, appeals only happen in term time when schools are open. Usually, panels sit for a day from around 9.00am to 3.00pm; however, these times may change slightly due to demand. Dates will be set in advance and you are able to choose how often you sit on the panel. On occasion there may be a requirement for a panel to consider appeal hearings held over multiple consecutive days; however, your appointment to such a panel is at the discretion of yourself.
What the role offers you?
The role would give you the opportunity of using existing skills and developing new ones. Full training will be provided, and you will have the support of a fully trained and experienced clerk. The work is voluntary and unpaid, but Panel Members do receive an expense allowance of £25 per day to cover costs such as electricity/heating etc as the appeals will be conducted remotely via Microsoft Teams.
Do I have to have any qualifications to apply?
You do not need any specific experience to apply as appropriate training will be provided. However, the role would suit people with the following skills and abilities:-
- excellent listening skills;
- the ability to put people at ease;
- good interpersonal and communication skills;
- the ability to remain firm and calm;
- integrity and fairness;
- the ability to get on with other people and to work as part of a team; and
- the ability to keep all information private and confidential.
There are some restrictions, however, to maintain the independence of the panel. In particular you:
- CANNOT be a Councillor of Knowsley Borough Council; and
- CANNOT be employed by the Council, unless you are a teacher (NB a teacher would be unable to sit on a panel considering appeals for the school at which they were employed).
The closing date for applications is 15th January 2024.