Hampshire Independent Appeals Service (IAS) – Panel Members

Volunteering to hear cases and reaching a decision with panel member colleagues

About the opportunity

The IAS hears school admission and exclusion appeals across Hampshire, providing parents, guardians and carers of school-age children an opportunity to appeal against a decision to refuse admission to, or exclude a child from, a preferred or attended school. We are continually seeking ‘lay’ (no experience of being employed within the education sector) and ‘non-lay’ (experience of employment within the education sector) panel members to sit on appeal hearings.

You will be volunteering to hear cases and reaching a decision with panel member colleagues as to whether the case made by a parent, guardian or carer should result in a successful (upheld) appeal, or an unsuccessful (dismissed) appeal, based on a balance of the evidence of prejudice heard from all parties.

Tasks and duties

Panel member duties include:

  • Reading appeal packs prior to hearings in order to understand the case being put forward by the admission authority and the parent, guardian or carer
  • considering the written evidence in advance of the meeting, and drafting questions you may wish to ask at the hearing
  • attending appeal hearings until all appeals have been heard, and taking part in pre-meeting briefings and post-meeting deliberations. Listening to both cases made during the appeals hearing, and making a judgement on the evidence heard and previously received
  • taking an active part in appeal hearings with panel member colleagues, including making notes, asking questions, and contributing the outcomes of appeals

Training

Volunteers will receive training on:

  • the legislation, guidance and processes underpinning school admission and exclusion appeals
  • the type of appeals that are heard, and how they differ
  • how the appeals process work in Hampshire
  • observing appeals and discussing cases with current appeal panel members

Once training has been completed, panel members will receive ongoing support from the Appeals Manager and clerks supporting hearings until new members feel confident in undertaking their role.

Commitment

This is dependent on your availability and where you are based. We receive approximately 900 appeals a year, and held 247 separate hearings (some of which were for multiple children over several days) in 2017. You can volunteer for as many appeals as you may wish, once fully trained, and these are filled on a first come, first served basis. We try to match panel members to appeals taking place in the district of Hampshire in which they live, where possible.

You may choose whether you wish to sit on:

  • school appeals for Church of England Dioceses / the Catholic Diocese and/or non-religious school appeals
  • school appeals in Hampshire, Portsmouth and/or Southampton

You may ask not to sit on any school appeals where you may have a conflict of interest, or may wish not to travel to geographically.


Who we are looking for

You will:

  • be able to demonstrate previous experience of voluntary or community work
  • have excellent attention to detail
  • have good interpersonal skills
  • be able to travel to appeal venues
  • be able to make decisions based on a good analysis of the evidence presented

You may:

  • have experience of employment within the education sector
  • have experience of working within a judicial environment i.e. as a magistrate

You may not apply if you have had, now or at any time in the past, any personal connection with any person who is a member of or who is employed by the local authority on which you intend to sit, which might reasonably be taken to raise doubts about your ability to act impartially.

We meet all panel member travel expenses, and provide refreshments at appeal hearings, including lunch where appeal hearings last a full day.

How to apply

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