Volunteers needed to hear school admissions appeals in Cambridgeshire

Cambs County Council are looking for people to sit on independent appeals panels to make decisions o

Cambs County Council are looking for people to sit on independent appeals panels to make decisions over school admissions. - Credit: Archant

A plea has been launched for volunteers to hear appeals against school admissions decisions.

The volunteers will sit on an independent appeals panel and will be responsible for hearing appeals by parents upset by their children failing to get a place at their chosen school.

Every year, a number of pupils fail to secure a place at the school of their choice because that school is oversubscribed.

The parents of these pupils can appeal against such decisions, and these appeals are heard by independent appeals panels. This is an important process which is required by law.

Cambridgeshire County Council therefore wants lay and educationally experienced members to sit on these panels, which are independent of the county council and the school governing bodies.

Volunteers must be able to listen to two sides of a case and weigh up evidence objectively and impartially.

The work is voluntary, but travelling expenses will be paid and training will be provided. The time commitment is generally a minimum of five working days each year.

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To ensure impartiality, panel members must not be elected members or employees of the county council who work in education, or on the governing body of the school concerned with the appeal.

However, they can be on the governing body of an unconnected school. They must also not be involved in the management or provision of education in any school.

Anyone interested in learning more or applying should contact democratic and members’ services assistant Harriet Snape on 01223 699173, email harriet.snape@cambridgeshire.gov.uk or write to Harriet Snape, SH1102, Shire Hall, Cambridge CB3 0AP. The closing date for applications is March 31. Successful applicants will be notified and asked to attend training during the following month.

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