Appeals hearing for admission to a school found in the parents favour. However, the appeals panel did not follow the must and must not directives with in the code. An independent solicitor has agreed our case is overwhelming. The local authority are denying that because the panel did not follow the code, the decision they came to cannot be legally binding. they are saying that the decision is legally binding.
I am a chair of Governors of a Primary Academy. As an outsider to law, the fact that the Panel did not follow the Appeals Code and any decision they make has the force of law, it seems logical that not following the code cannot produce a binding decision. The Education Funding Agency are enforcing the decision because they say any decision made by an appeals panel is legally binding.
We have written to the legal people at the LA. Their answer is that the decision cannot be overturned. We are still confused because we cannot understand that he decision the appeals panel came can be legal if the appeals did not follow the code. This is the reason for the question. As a school we do not have the same rights as parents and cannot appeals to the local ombudsman
because the year group is full and there are 3 children with statements of need in the class should the child be admitted. As stated before, an independent solicitor has agreed our case is overwhelming that the appeals panel had not followed the code of practice. We are therefore saying that the decision the panel came cannot be binding.
Hi Taratill, thank you for being so patient. As an academy, we buy in the appeals service from the local authority. As we are buying in that service are we really ion the same side. Also if appeals panels are independent, they should not be 'working' for either side. You are correct, this is a very unusual case because no school has challenged an appeals panel before. Only parents.
No, just that they did not follow the code in at least 8 places, did not explain their decisions and the decision letter contained errors that were altered by the head of appeals service in consultation with the clerk of the panel
Ok the fact that you are an Academy does not change the complexity of the situation only the relationship between you and the LEA. I would still suggest you request a meeting to discuss your concerns and consider engaging a specialist lawyer to represent the Academy's interests. I do wish you all the luck with this and hope you will sort it out. You never know this could be a ground breaking case. If you have any further questions please do ask. I would be grateful if you would take the time to rate my answer as I am not otherwise credited for my time. Many thanks
Hi Tartill. I will give you a good rating at the moment.
They refuse to meet and discuss the issue. The head of appeals service at the LA has 'mysteriously' retired in the last fortnight.
despite all the above, me being quite 'simple' says that the panel has to follow the code for a decision to be binding and have the force of law .. otherwise why have a code?
I agree with you .. this could be a trail breaker. The academy is reluctant to spend taxpayers money resolving an issue that should be simple. The appeals panel did not follow the code. The decision therefore cannot be legally binding. the hearing needs to be heard again.