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Education Appeal Committees: Proposals for Reform: A Consultation

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Consultation questions

Question 1: Do you agree that a leaflet, with basic information for parents on the following topics, should be produced?

  • how an appeal hearing is conducted;
  • who will attend a hearing, and their roles;
  • rules on submitting evidence;
  • possible sources of help and advice for appellants.

Are there any other topics that should also be included in the leaflet?

Question 2: Who should produce such an information leaflet? The Scottish Executive, local authorities, or some other body?

Question 3: Rather than producing an information leaflet, should the Scottish Executive set out what information local authorities should provide to those appealing?

Question 4: Do you think that any additional sources of advice and support for appellants should be provided? If so, what sort of advice and support should be provided, and by whom?

Question 5: Do you support the use of pre-hearing meetings? If so, what should the purpose of such meetings be, and how should they work?

Question 6: Do you agree with our proposal to issue guidance for local authorities on arrangements surrounding Education Appeal Committees? Do you agree with the proposed areas for the guidance to cover (above)? Are there any other topics that you think should be included in the guidance?

Question 7: Is there anything in particular that authorities should put in place to ensure that all those who appeal to EACs have a fair hearing? For example, what provision should the guidance recommend in relation to sign language, interpretation, etc.?

Question 8: Do you agree with tackling the issue of representation through guidance? Do you have any ideas or suggestions on ways of making sure that both sides are fairly represented?

Question 9: Do you agree with our proposal to discourage local authorities from holding combined Education Appeal Committee hearings?

Question 10: Do you think Education Appeal Committees should continue to be able to hold combined hearings (e.g. hearing two or more appeals at the same time)?

Question 11: Do you agree with our proposals to recommend that EAC panels do not include a majority of councillors or people who advise the authority on education matters? Do you have any suggestions on how authorities can widen their pool of potential volunteers?

Question 12: Should the rules on who can sit on an EAC panel be changed? If so, who should be allowed to sit on an EAC panel?

Question 13: Do you agree with our proposal to produce training material for authorities to deliver? Do you agree that such training should cover the topics above? Do you think the training should cover any other topics?

Question 14: Do you agree that all panel members should complete training before they sit on an EAC panel? Should this requirement be put in Scottish Executive guidance (which would not be binding on authorities) or in legislation? Please let us know the reasons for your view.

Question 15: Do you have any comments on the current timescales for hearing appeals? If you think they should change, what other timescale would be appropriate and realistic?

Question 16: Given the findings of the research and the Scottish Committee's report we would welcome views on whether Education Appeal Committees are still an appropriate means for hearing appeals relating to placing requests and exclusions. Do you think there is another, and better, way of dealing with appeals? If so, what is it? Are there any other existing bodies that could possibly hear these appeals?

Question 17: Should we establish new bodies to hear appeals against placing request and exclusion decisions? If so, who should sit on these bodies and how should they work?

Question 18: Given the different issues involved should one body hear appeals against exclusions and against placing request decisions? Do you think EACs should have one set of procedures for hearing appeals relating to placing requests, and another set for when they are hearing appeals relating to exclusions? If so, what should be the differences?

Question 19: Are there any other comments you would like to make about Education Appeal Committees?