Independent appeal panel. Can someone explain.

(65 Posts)
gaba Tue 14-Jan-14 14:22:43

I am probably missing something, and I am sure I am just stupid but, I have a few little questions:

Who decides on the members who make up the panel?
Can anyone apply to be on the panels?
Where do they look for panel members?
Do they always use the same panel members?
What can we (the appellants) know about our panel?
What checks and balances are carried out by what authority to establish the Independence of the members?
If I were to find out something disturbing about a member what can I do?
If the answer to any of the questions is the LEA and the school you are appealing against is its own authority as many are these days, how can these appeals possibly be called independent?

Just imagine if in a court of the jury was always made up of the same jurors, and they were all on day release from prison, and, for some reason they always found in favor of the defendant. Imagine if the over subscribed prison service were paying the cons expenses while they served as jurors. Do you think the public would have faith in the system?

My apologies in advance to those who do serve on panels, and I know are true honest and give invaluable advice on these forums, but that little analogy may help you guys can see it from the eyes of an independent member of the public.

tiggytape Tue 14-Jan-14 22:48:21

Very few people get a school of their choice when they move to a new area with a dense / large population. That's just a fact of life.

Many don't get a very local school offered at all - not even an undesirable one. Some areas have such large populations that every place in every year group is taken. They have to be bussed out to other schools and wait for a more local place to (hopefully) come up from the waiting lists

I know it feels unfair and it can be an absolute nightmare
Any glance at the education boards most days shows how many people realise their house move / job move is going to leave them with no local school or only awful schools but what do you want the council to do?

They are lax not to have made offers if there are places within 14 miles but you have to do some chasing too and not just appealing for nearer schools but taking a proactive and also 'best of a bad bunch' approach. That includes applying over the border in other counties and pushing for the transport you need (and are entitled to assuming you haven't turned down any places formally offered to you).

"Best of a bad bunch' is not an ideal prospect when sorting out schools I know but many people have to settle for this either in terms of the school itself or the location of the school especially when they move house or if they don't move but the catchment shrinks from under them as also happens a lot.

Unexpected Tue 14-Jan-14 22:50:50

Gaba I remember your other thread and you were given a lot of good advice there, much of which you ignored and were rude to some people. You lost my sympathy on this thread when you enquired whether people on appeal panels had too much time on their hands to undertake such a role without pay! As a former school governor, presumably I would fall into the same category! People volunteer for these roles because they feel they want to give something back to the community, they don't get to pick and choose which appeals they accept, but their job certainly can't be made easier by parents like you with your poor stupid little me act!

tiggytape Tue 14-Jan-14 22:53:26

SINCE I HAVE NOT ACCEPTED THEIR OFFER I DO NOT KNOW IF THEY CAN REFUSE TRANSPORT COSTS OR NOT.

If this is your only offer, there is no question, you are entitled to free transport.
This isn't something that is discretionary. By law the council MUST provide it for you. The relevant laws are the Education Act 1996 (as amended by the Education and
Inspections Act 2006) which says Local Authorities have the duty to provide travel arrangements free of charge for certain categories of children. The main category of children who are eligible are:

"Children living too far away
Children living outside the statutory walking distance to the nearest
qualifying school (2 miles for under 8s, 3 miles for 8 and over), where no suitable arrangement can be made for school closer to home. The distance
measured should be the shortest route along which a child may walk with reasonable safety."

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Tue 14-Jan-14 23:02:01

Ok. I have looked at the previous threads. I have years of experience of hearing and chairing appeals (being one of those old dears with too much free time) but don't think I can add anything useful here.

I wish you well with your appeal, OP.

lougle Tue 14-Jan-14 23:11:11

When is your appeal, Gaba?

pipsqueak Tue 14-Jan-14 23:39:01

The council won't have to offer transport to school 60 miles away though if there is a nearer school with places. The legal obligation is to provide transport to nearest school with places if walking distance3 miles+

So much good advice on here - hope OP receptive to advice instead of beefing on about panel members who seem to me to give up a lot of time to do this job with precious little reward or thanks!!

In my LA success rate at non KS1 appeals around30%

Missing yr 10 bad news hmm

CouthyMow Tue 14-Jan-14 23:40:25

Actually, in some Counties, the offer of free transport is for distances "over 3 miles but under 15 miles". They don't all publish the MAXIMUM distance they will pay free transport for, but I know that certain counties will not pay for transport for any school over a certain distance away in the absence of SN's, even if there is no closer school to offer. It's not LEGAL for them to refuse to pay, but how do you get them to ACTUALLY pay it gout taking legal action? Answer is, you can't!

CouthyMow Tue 14-Jan-14 23:43:03

If the OP's in Suffolk and trying to apply for Y10 in Essex, she's got next to no chance of finding a Secondary with places. I live in the closest town to Suffolk, and I've got friends travelling their DC's even further into Essex in that year group due to lack of spaces. And Essex won't pay the transport for an out of County applicant, either.

prh47bridge Tue 14-Jan-14 23:58:14

If they have not offered you a place at a nearer school you are entitled to free transport. You will not have to chase them through the courts to get it. If they have refused free transport you can appeal. If you exhaust the LA's appeal process and still haven't got free transport you can refer the matter to the LGO.

Having said that, on your earlier thread it appeared that Herts had suggested a school in Essex but you did not go ahead with that option. If the Essex school was nearer than the school you have been allocated (and from the description you gave it was indeed much nearer) then I am afraid you are not entitled to free transport.

gaba Wed 15-Jan-14 06:24:17

Couthymow wrote

'Actually, in some Counties, the offer of free transport is for distances "over 3 miles but under 15 miles". They don't all publish the MAXIMUM distance they will pay free transport for, but I know that certain counties will not pay for transport for any school over a certain distance away in the absence of SN's, even if there is no closer school to offer. It's not LEGAL for them to refuse to pay, but how do you get them to ACTUALLY pay it gout taking legal action? Answer is, you can't!'

This is exactly my concern, and it wouldn't be cheap. Public transport would be too expensive, I have already given up my job so I would drive them. The fastest way I found was to use the M11 then the M25 and takes under an hour unless there is traffic, the distance being 33 miles.

meditrina Wed 15-Jan-14 06:44:07

The council informed you of vacancies (in Essex) but you declined to take that forward.

You chose to request a Herts school, an they have told you the nearest with spaces, but pointed out that as it is not the nearest school with vacancies, you are not entitled to transport.

This situation has been going on since September.

What is your current situation with appeals for the schools you actually like, and where on the waiting list are you for each?

curlew Wed 15-Jan-14 07:12:36

If you had lots of money, OP, what would you do?

tiggytape Wed 15-Jan-14 08:52:56

It's not LEGAL for them to refuse to pay, but how do you get them to ACTUALLY pay it gout taking legal action? Answer is, you can't!

You write to the LGO and make a formal complaint
The LGO finds in your favour
The council are made to pay.

No court action and no money is required to sort out free transport where a child qualifies.

prh47bridge Wed 15-Jan-14 09:29:37

Tiggytape is right. The LGO will enforce your right to free transport if necessary. No costs involved. But before going to the LGO you need to exhaust the LA's appeal procedures.

The 15 mile limit mentioned by CouthyMow only applies if the child is eligible for free school meals, over the age of 11 and the parents want the child to attend a faith school. In that situation the child is entitled to free transport to the nearest faith school (of the appropriate faith) with places available provided it is between 2 and 15 miles from home.

If a child is attending the nearest school with places available and it is not within walking distance from home (2 miles if the child is under 8, 3 miles if they are over 8) they are entitled to free transport regardless of the distance involved.

MmeMorrible Wed 15-Jan-14 13:11:11

The OP lives in Bishops Stortford which is just inside the Hertfordshire border with Essex. Schools in Bishops Stortford are over subscribed and therefore unsurprising there are no places available for in year transfer for the OPs DC. However there are many good secondary schools just order the county border in Essex such as Newport Free Grammar, Saffron Walden County High and Helena Romanes in Great Dunmow that are geographically very close. The OP refuses to apply for places in Essex schools.

I'm not clear why the OP is so set on only sending her DC to a school within Herts? How is it in the interests of your Yr10 child's education to miss this much schooling when you could easily have applied to Essex and have had him settled into school by now??

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