Volunteers are needed to help to decide on appeals by parents / carers regarding their application for a school place, the county council has said.
Powys County Council has said it is looking to recruit people from a diverse range of backgrounds and experience to join its School Admissions Appeals Panel. The panels are set up to consider appeals from parents / carers whose child has missed out on a place at their preferred school.
When a child is refused a place at a school of their choice, they are entitled to appeal against the decision. Panel members will consider the reasons for the parent / carers’ choice of school, as well as the reasons why a place hasn’t been allocated, and then make a decision as to whether the appeal should be upheld or rejected.
Each panel consists of a minimum of three people. This includes someone with no paid experience of education, known as a lay member, and also someone with some experience such as a teacher, or governor.
A trained clerk will advise on legal and administrative issues. Each of the panel members must be independent of the authority, school and the families involved.
Appeals take place throughout the year, but the majority are held between April and June.
Cllr Pete Roberts, Cabinet Member for a Learning Powys, said: “These panels are very important and the work is so rewarding.
"You don't need specialist knowledge or educational expertise. We need people with a good mix of skills and backgrounds who can bring different viewpoints and experience and fresh ideas with them."
The role would suit people with excellent listening skills, as well as the ability to put people at ease and assess evidence to determine each appeal.
What skills the council is looking for:
• The ability to impartially listen to and evaluate the arguments and evidence presented by both sides
• Decisiveness – an appeal decision will have to be made soon after hearing the appeal
• Flexibility – appeals are generally heard during working hours, will you be able to attend? Your availability will always be sought prior to an appeal hearing being set.
If you are interested in performing this valuable role, you have until March 15 2024 to submit your application form.
Applications will then be considered by the council, who will advise in writing by the end of March 2024 whether or not your application has been approved.
If accepted as a panel member, you will be invited for training.