Panel volunteers needed for School admission appeals

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Luton Borough council is seeking new panel volunteers for school admission appeals.

If a school place is refused, parents can put their case to an independent panel to appeal against the decision.

Councillor Waheed Akbar said: “Our panels are made up of people from a variety of backgrounds. Some individuals have experience in education, others are parents and some volunteers have no personal experience in this area.”

They are set up under the School Standards and Framework Act 1998. The panel is made up of three people, with a clerk to take notes.

It must include someone who does not have personal experience of school management and someone who is familiar with schools in the town or who is a parent of a child at school.

The panel is independent from the councils, therefore school governors appointed by the council are eligible to volunteer.

The role is unpaid. Appeals are held within school hours, lunch is provided and car parking is free.

Volunteers must be 18 or older, to apply, call 01582 548060.

Sian Jarvis, School Admissions appeal panel member, said: “I think it is rewarding to give families the opportunity to present their child’s case for school admission at their preferred school. I believe it is important to be fair and impartial in considering all the arguments.

“I have been a panel member for seven years and I enjoy feeling that I do something worthwhile and it gives me a great sense of satisfaction, whilst practically it helps me to maintain my existing skills.”