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School Appeals Panel Members

We are looking for volunteers to join independent panels to help decide on appeals for school places.

School appeals panels

School appeals take place when a parent or guardian wishes to appeal against the refusal of a school place for their child.

The panel meet and hear cases presented by the parents and the admissions authority. They decide whether to grant the child access to the school in question.

Each case is heard by 3 panel members. A trained clerk is also present and gives advice on the law and regulations to make sure panel members follow the right procedures.

Panel members

Panel members must include:

  • lay members – people who have not worked in a school in any paid capacity
  • education/experienced members – people who have experience in education. For example teachers, teaching assistants or parents of registered school pupils

You cannot be a panel member if you are an elected member of Plymouth City Council.

If you have an existing connection to a specific school, you will not be able to sit on appeal hearings for that school.

What the role involves

Panel members listen to both parties during a hearing to decide whether a child should be admitted to a primary or secondary school. Any decision is legally binding.

Skills and experience needed

You don’t need any specific qualifications. We are looking for applicants from any background and with a wide range of knowledge and experience.

You should have the ability to:

  • put nervous parents at ease
  • listen to information carefully
  • take in complex information and question in a structured manner
  • ask questions, written and verbally on information provided
  • remain calm, impartial and be fair
  • respect the confidentiality of information
  • look beyond individual personal circumstances to form a just conclusion
  • consider evidence and understand and apply legislation
  • make reasoned, balanced and objective decisions


Full training is provided and existing panel members will usually have refresher training every two years. Panel members that have not had full training will not be able to sit on a panel.

Refreshments, including lunch is provided. Free car parking is available at the usual venue.

Time you need to give

Appeals take place usually between 10am and 4pm Monday to Friday, term time only.

May to July are the busiest months.

You can choose to serve as a panel member as few or many times as you like throughout the year. The clerk will check your availability when organising appeals.

Location of hearings

Appeal hearings usually take place at the Council House.

Armada Way

You will be told if the venue changes.

The Council House is fully accessible.


Complete the online application form and we will be in touch.

More information

Contact us if you would like to find out more before you apply.

Phone: 01752 398164