Government plans to make pandemic-related changes permanent with consultation on revised School Admissions Appeals Code

The Ministry of Education has launched a consultation on a revised version of the School Admissions Appeals Code.

The DfE said the revised Appeals Code allows appeals to be held remotely (by telephone or videoconference) as well as in person and allows appeal hearings to continue with only two panel members when the third member of the panel must withdraw.

“The changes make permanent some of the arrangements that were temporarily put in place as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” he added.

The consultation, which closes on April 3, 2022, can be seen here.

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The DfE said comments on the temporary arrangements introduced by the School Admissions (England) (Coronavirus) (Appeal Provisions) (Amendment) Regulations 2020, which were introduced in April 2020 and subsequently extended, suggested that they worked well and provided benefits to locals. authorities, admissions authorities, schools and appeal boards in terms of saving time and money. A number had asked that the provisions be made permanent.

The survey of local authorities and other bodies found that many respondents said parents were also positive about remote arrangements. “There was also a perception, confirmed in some cases by parents’ comments to local authorities, that the provisions made it easier for parents to access the redress system without, for example, having to take time off work and/or or incur other additional costs, such as arranging additional childcare.

Admissions authorities also reported a significant drop in the number of hearings where parents did not show up.

The DfE said it hoped through the consultation to gather more evidence of parents’ direct views on these arrangements.

The ministry said it intended to put the changes into effect immediately after the temporary regulations expire on October 1, 2022, but would keep this under review in light of the continued impact of COVID-19. “We may need to make changes to how the temporary regulations expire to ensure the two sets of rules align in the most sensible way.”

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