PLACING REQUEST APPPEALS INFORMATION FOR PARENTS - COVID 19
Due to the current situation with Coronavirus again this year, the Scottish Government has extended the timescales for Placing Request Appeals to be heard. Please refer to the under-noted "parental guidance from the Scottish Government" for 2021 including a link to the Scottish Government Website. It is hoped the normal timeframes will return in 2022.
If you do choose to appeal after reading this advice, Committee Services will inform you of the appeals process.
Although you can appeal in writing, due to the current restrictions in place in relation to contact, an appeal by email to firstname.lastname@example.org would help Committee Services to process appeals more efficiently.
Please provide the following with your appeal:-
Please note, where an e-mail address is provided your acknowledgement will be sent by e-mail.
Published Parental Guidance from the Scottish Government for 2021 - https://www.gov.scot/publications/choosing-school-guide-parents-nov-16/pages/4/
Why the process for school placing requests appeals will change
The impact of coronavirus on local authorities' capacity, as well as the importance of reducing face to face contact to control virus transmission, mean that the placing requests and appeals process will be different in 2021.
We have updated the rules to change some of the timeframes and, as in 2020, enabling appeal hearings to be held in different ways, for example by video or telephone conference.
These changes are temporary, and we intend the process to return to previous timeframes in 2022.
School placing requests in 2021
If you made a placing request by the 15 March 2021 deadline, your local authority must provide a decision in writing by 15 May 2021.
In many cases, you will receive a response sooner than this.
If you do not receive a decision in writing from your local authority by 15 May 2021, it will be deemed that they have refused your request and you will have the right to appeal to an education appeal committee.
If your request was made later than the 15 March 2021 deadline, local authorities have two months to provide a decision in writing. If you do not receive a response within two months, it will be deemed that the local authority has refused your request and you will have the right to appeal.
Appeals process in 2021
You have 28 days from the date you received a decision (placing request) from the local authority to submit an appeal. This deadline for submitting an appeal also applies in cases where the local authority is deemed to have refused your placing request. An appeal committee will still be expected to hold an appeal hearing as soon as possible within that two month period.
An appeal committee has 5 days to acknowledge your appeal request. They will have up to two months to hold the appeal hearing and if it is unable to do so due to circumstances beyond its control, as soon as reasonably practicable after that.
You must be given 14 days' notice of the hearing date unless you agree to less notice.
Hearings can take place through video or telephone conference, or, if all involved agree to it, in writing.
The appeal committee has 14 days from the conclusion of the hearing to inform you of its decision and if you do not receive the decision within this time period, you will be entitled to appeal to the Sheriff Court.
If the appeal committee does not hold a hearing on your appeal within 3 months, you will be able to appeal to the Sheriff Court.
Arrangements may vary locally within the new timeframes set out above. It is possible within these timeframes that there will be cases that cannot be resolved before the new academic year. If that was the case, we would expect the local authority to stay in contact with you to explain your options until the appeal has concluded.
When the Council is not able to give your child a place in the school you want, you are provided with the reason for this by letter.
The 'reason' is one or more of those explained below and allowed by law. There is an extract from both the Education (Scotland) Act 1980 and Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act 2004 included at the end of this guidance. However, the following is a summary of the legal reasons of refusal.
The Council does not have to admit your child to the school of your choice if any of the following apply:-
Pupil numbers in the school would exceed the capacity agreed for the school by the council.
The authority would require to employ another teacher
The accommodation at the school would need to be altered or significant money spent
At a later stage in the school another class would have to be created or another teacher employed
The child does not have the additional support needs requiring education or special facilities normally provided at a special school
Likely to be detrimental to order and discipline in the school
Likely to be seriously detrimental to the education and wellbeing of pupils attending the school
The education normally provided at the specified school is not suited to the age, ability or aptitude of the child
Placing the child in this school would prevent the education authority from retaining reserved places for catchment children
The specified school is a single sex school (with meaning given to expression by the Section 26 of the Sex Discrimination Act 1975) and the child is not of the sex admitted or taken (under that section) to be admitted to the school