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Apply to be a school admission appeals panel member


From 13 November to 31 December 2023, we are co-ordinating a consultation on admissions arrangements for 2025 intakes.

Have your say in the school admissions consultation

From Monday 4 December 2023 to Sunday 31 December 2023 we are co-ordinating a consultation on term dates for the 2025-2026 academic year.

Have your say in our term dates consultation

Are you interested in becoming a school admission appeals panel member? Do you have excellent listening skills, the ability to put people at ease and make balanced decisions? Would you like to become involved in an important, impartial service provided to parents and schools?

We regularly seek to recruit new members for our school admission appeals panels. The panels hear evidence and make decisions in relation to appeals received from parents/guardians who wish to appeal against a decision not to admit a child to their preferred school.

Three panel members are required to hold a school admission appeals hearing, with each panel composed of at least one member from each of the following categories:

  • Lay members - those without personal experience in the management of or provision of education in any school (a lay member can also be someone who is, or has been, a school governor or someone who has worked or works in a school as a volunteer)
  • Non-lay members - those with experience in education; this includes teachers/ teaching assistants, ex-teachers/ex-teaching assistants, individuals acquainted with educational conditions, or parents of a registered pupil at a different school.

Full initial training will be provided with refresher training at regular intervals to ensure everyone is kept up to date with changes to admissions law and the codes.

  • Reading the paperwork and written representations that will be sent to you
  • Sitting on independent school admission appeals panels
  • Listening to verbal representations at the hearings
  • Ensuring parents feel they have had a fair and independent hearing, have been given every opportunity to state their case and have been taken seriously
  • Weighing up the two cases from the parent/carer and the Admission Authority
  • Reaching a decision on each case with fellow panel members and giving reasons for those decisions

  • Good communication and listening skills
  • Integrity and fairness
  • Ability to work with other panel members
  • Ability to exercise sound judgment and make a well-reasoned decision
  • Have an awareness of Equality issues
  • Be reliable regarding any dates on which you've agreed to serve
  • Have an understanding of school admission appeals legislation (for which training will be provided)

  • Full training provided
  • Opportunity to acquire new skills, such as decision making
  • Rewarding - making a difference to a family
  • Opportunity to meet new people

Members can choose to serve on a panel as few or as many times as they wish throughout the year. We maintain a database of trained members and will make contact when organising an appeal to check availability. The appeals are arranged so that they are heard for half a day or a full day 9am to 5pm.

From October 2022, following the 2022 guidance coming into effect appeal hearings will take place virtually using Zoom. We will provide a hybrid hearing style at the request of any attendee. The hybrid style adopted is to prevent disadvantage or unfair treatment by offering attendees assistance to access the virtual hearing. Assistance to access the hearing will be offered to those who do not have the means to do so; or reliable internet access; or require technical assistance. They will be invited into the our offices at locations across West Northamptonshire where they will be provided with the means and technical assistance to access the appeal hearing.

You cannot be a panel member if you are a

  • West Northamptonshire Councillor
  • an employee of the Council.

Governors, teachers and teaching assistants may not sit on a panel considering an appeal for the school in which they work but may sit on panels considering appeals for other schools.

All panel members will receive training prior to sitting on a panel. Panels are also supported by trained clerks, who provide advice on the law and process relating to appeals.

Panel members provide a very important voluntary service which is unpaid.

Panel Members are entitled to claim expenses, such as travel, when attending panel hearings and training.

Refreshments are also provided for face-to-face hearings.

If you are interested in the role, please complete the application form below.

To be returned to: [email protected] 


Democratic Services
West Northamptonshire Council
One Angel Square
Angel Street

For an information discussion, please contact:

Amanda Burns (Reeve), Appeals Manager on 07500 605693 or email [email protected].

Last updated 25 October 2023