School admissions appeals must be organised and administered in compliance with Section 86 of the School Standards and Framework Act 1998, the Education (Admissions Appeals Arrangements) (Amendment) Regulations 2007 and the statutory School Admissions Appeal Code, as amended.
The code imposes mandatory requirements, refers to statutory requirements and includes guidelines which relevant bodies should normally follow. Governing bodies have a statutory duty to act in accordance with the code.
The fundamental objectives of all school admission appeals are to:
• Provide an independent, impartial and informal but structured forum for parents and the admission authority/school concerned, to present their respective cases and to be confident that they will be given a fair hearing
• Ensure that independent appeal panels weigh up all evidence presented to them carefully and objectively before reaching a final decision on the appeal
• Operate within education and other relevant legislation, including the Human Rights Act 1998 and the Equality Act 2010. Appeal panels are also required to have regard to guidance in the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s Code of Practice for Schools when determining an appeal. Appeal panels are carrying out a judicial function and must apply the principles of natural justice
• Operate in accordance with the mandatory provisions of the code, having regard to all relevant guidance in conducting appeal arrangements
• Provide a system which is clear, consistent and easy to understand by everyone involved, particularly by parents. Schools need to be confident that they have the correct systems and practices in place in order to comply with the above. The clerk to the independent appeals panel must be independent of the school.
North Somerset Council’s School Appeals team co- ordinates and supports over 200 admission appeals each year, has trained and experienced staff who run admission appeals effectively and efficiently and in accordance with statutory requirements.