Thank you for your interest in becoming a member of the Royal Borough Education Appeals Panel.
Update: Wednesday 16 November 2022 - We have received a significant number of applications for the current recruitment round and have therefore closed the application window at this time.
This page provides information on the operation of the panel and the appeal process. Hopefully it will give you all the information you need to help you decide whether to apply to become a panel member.
If you have any further questions, please email education.appeals@RBWM.gov.uk and we will be in contact with you.
Role of an Appeal Panel
Appeal panels make decisions on cases where a parent or guardian has appealed against the decision to refuse their child a place at a particular school. The appeal panel is independent of the local authority and its decisions are binding on the local authority, unless overturned by the courts.
Appeal Panels perform a judicial function and are transparent, independent and impartial. A clerk will be present at all appeals to give legal and procedural advice to the panel.
Appeal Panel membership
Each Royal Borough Education Appeals Panel consists of three people and there are strict legal rules about who can be a Panel Member.
Appeal Panels must include:
- Lay members – these are people who have not worked in a school in any paid capacity, although they may be (or have been) a school governor or work (or have worked) in a school as a volunteer.
- Education members - these are people who have experience in education or are acquainted with educational conditions in the area, such as teachers or teaching assistants or parents of school pupils.
Each admission Appeal Panel must consist of at least one member from each of these categories, with the third member being drawn from either.
In order to maintain the panel’s independence, Panel Members cannot hear appeals for any case where they have a connection to the school or family in question. This also means that employees or members of the Royal Borough Council cannot sit as Panel Members.
There are no specific qualifications or experience that you need to become a Panel Member and almost anyone can take on the role. We welcome people with all types of knowledge, background and experience.
However, Panel Members must be empathetic, good listeners, and want to contribute to the education system. Panel Members must also be fair minded, and willing to give up some of their time. Full training will be provided on the School Admission Code and School Admission Appeal Code, and Panel Members will be trained before sitting for the first time.
The role is voluntary although expenses can be paid for attending sessions.
Admission appeal hearings
Hearings take place during the day, on scheduled dates once or twice a month. It takes about 45 minutes to one hour to hear each appeal and it is normal for several appeals to be heard by the same panel on the same day. Refreshments are provided, including lunch if there are several appeals scheduled for one day.
Most appeals are heard during May, June and July for the September admissions, but appeals are scheduled each month.
Where there are two or more appeals for a particular year group at the same school, the same panel should hear all the appeals. This is most likely to occur during the main admissions round and it is possible that a panel will need to sit for more than one day depending on the number of appeals.
Panel Members will be required to read relevant paperwork prior to the hearing, which will include both cases for the child, and the school admission authority.
There are generally two parties present at appeal hearings:
- the presenting officer from the admissions authority
- the parent(s)/guardian, who may be represented or accompanied by a friend or adviser.
Each party presents a case to the panel. The panel members listen to the presentations and question the parties to make sure that they have enough information to reach a decision. Once the parties have stated their case and all questions have been asked, the parties leave the room, and the panel decides in private. This is recorded by the clerk, who subsequently notifies every one of the panel's decisions in writing.
Once the panel has made its decision it is binding on all parties, that is the parent(s)/guardian, the school governing body, the head teacher and the local authority. The panel cannot revisit its decision once made.
Venue for appeal hearings
Hearings are usually held at Maidenhead Town Hall, St Ives Road, Maidenhead SL6 1RF.