Children and parents awaiting the outcome of their school appeals process should be informed by the end of next week.Advertisement
The appeals process, which usually takes place in May, has been delayed due to the outbreak of Covid-19.
Lancashire County Council say prior to the lockdown there was a statutory requirement for appeal panels to be held in person. However these broke the restriction on gatherings of more than two people, meaning face-to-face hearings had to be called off.
The DfE also recognised that there were logistical difficulties in securing sufficient independent panel members and advised that partial school openings/closures would impact on meeting certain appeal deadlines.
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Parents have waited anxiously to find out whether their child would be given a place at their chosen school.
However before that could take place, the Department for Education had to urgently draft and implement new legislation to allow local authorities to manage appeals in the best way to suit local circumstances.
There was also a need to ensure families were not disadvantaged by any measures taken to protect public health.
As a result of the change in legislation, the deadline for appeals to take place was extended and flexibility for panel hearings to take place by video conference, telephone or a paper based appeal were introduced.
Lancashire County Council took the decision to use a paper based system to carry out the appeals process, where all parties made written applications to the panel.
A spokesperson said: “Once the new guidance was released, the County Council held trials in respect of hosting virtual appeals with parental and school representation.
“These tests were time-consuming, and highlighted technical difficulties which we obviously did not want to subject parents and carers to.
“We therefore decided that most secondary school appeals should proceed using a paper based system.”
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There have been approximately 1,200 appeals lodged for the Lancashire secondary school intake for September 2020.
The appeals are currently taking place and all of those received by the appeal deadline, should have been heard by 16 July 2020.
Did your child get a place at their chosen school? Let us know in the comments section.