I was just wondering how you get involved with local authority school admissions panels? Is it a voluntary role or paid? Do you have to work in education?
I'm going to have a bit more time on my hands in Sept when DS starts school, and I'd love to volunteer on an admissions panel. But I'm from a legal rather than an educational background, although DH is a teacher (in an indie school ) so I have some knowledge of education.
I'm not a panel member myself so Admission and PanelChair can give better advice. However, according to the Appeals Code, panel members receive travel and subsistence allowances, and can be compensated for loss of earnings, expenses, etc. At least one member of a panel must be a lay person, so not working in education isn't a problem.
I believe most LAs advertise for panel members when there are vacancies available.
Its voluntary, in theory you get travel expenses and if it is all day, some lunch but different Local Authorities are very different in the way they work with their volunteers. The situation at present is that the Local Authority is the admission authority for all community and voluntary controlled schools and therefore is responsible for arranging the appeal panels. Usually it is the legal department or democratic services department who arrange all this so that there is no cross over to the admission department. That is who I would write to in the first instance. Most LAs will have the people they need for this round of appeals for September 2013 entry to schools, so it could be quite a while before they train any more. Academies, foundation schools and voluntary aided schools are their own admission authorities and are responsible for organising their own admission appeals and panel members. Many of these schools do delegate the responsibility back to the LA as it saves a lot of hassle. There are now some private companies springing up who are doing admission appeals as well but I would say on what I have seen of them, they are not necessarily that good. One thing you do need to understand is that it does take some time commitment and there are many cases where it can get very emotional, if you cannot take a non-emotive view of the evidence put in front of you then you would be best not doing it as it can get to you at times.
I have never received travel expenses or anything else!
I was a school governor for many years and was approached by my council's democratic services department, inviting me to join the panel. These days, though, they advertise rather than headhunting. As for the rest, I agree with Admission.