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Volunteer on our Admissions Appeal Panel

All parents or carers have the right to make an appeal to an independent appeal panel if their child is not offered a place at their preferred school.

Volunteers are urgently needed to hear appeals when children are not offered a place at their preferred school. The role of the panel is to decide whether a child who has been refused a place by any school in Rainbow Education Multi-Academy Trust should be given a place.

  • Would you be interested in participating in an important, unbiased service offered to parents and schools?

  • Are you interested in education and would like to get involved?

  • Are you able to put people at ease and make fair and balanced decisions?

  • Do you have excellent listening skills?

If you have answered yes to any of the above, why not apply to become a Volunteer School Appeals Panel Member at Rainbow Education Multi-Academy Trust?

Serving on appeals panels can be a fulfilling and important role that is highly valued by all parties involved. By volunteering for an appeal panel, you have the opportunity to acquire new skills or enhance those you already possess.


What will I be doing?

Panel member duties include:

  • Reading appeal packs before hearings. Cases are made by the admission authority, school and the parent/ guardian or carer. This will ensure that the panel member understands these cases completely.

  • Considering the written evidence in advance of the meeting, and drafting questions you may wish to raise.

  • Attending appeal hearings as well as pre- and post-meeting deliberations.

  • Listening to both cases made during the appeals hearing and making a judgement on the evidence heard and previously received.

  • Taking an active part in appeal hearings including making notes and asking questions. As well as contributing to the outcomes and decisions of appeals.

What skills or experience do I need?

Volunteers don’t necessarily need to have experience of being a panel member.  Experience in education can be useful, but there is always a ‘Lay’ member on the panel who is a volunteer with experience or a background in education. Unfortunately, a panel member cannot work for the local authority. They must also be able to consider cases impartially and independently.

Skills which would be beneficial are:

  • Good interpersonal and communication skills

  • Good literacy and listening skills.

  • Able to remain firm and calm.

  • Integrity

  • Fairness

  • Be able to analyse information and use it to form opinions and conclusions.

  • Obtain and weigh up evidence to reach a non-bias decision.

  • Appreciation of everyone’s differing circumstances and backgrounds

  • Ability to work with other panel members.

How much time is involved in being a panel member?

This can vary depending on the level of commitment you wish to give.

While appeals are held throughout the year, the peak months are between May and July. The appeals are arranged so that they are heard for half a day or a full day depending on the number of appeals received.

Where will the hearings be held?

Hearings are currently held virtually either on Zoom or Microsoft teams. 

Can anyone be a panel member?

Yes, unless you are a Local Academy Councillor for any of the schools in our Trust or an employee of the Trust.

Other exemptions apply depending on the school being appealed for.

Do panel members receive training?

Yes, all volunteer panel members receive full initial training and further refresher training as and when required, they will be fully supported by the Trust.

Do panel members get paid?

Panel members provide a particularly important volunteer service which is unpaid. However, panel members are entitled to some expenses such as travel when attending training and hearings face to face. Generally, however, all our training and hearings are held via teams.

If you are interested in applying or who would like an informal chat about the role, please complete the form on the right hand side of this page.