Coronavirus (COVID-19): school placing requests and appeal hearings - guidance for local authorities

Guidance on temporary amendments to appeals processes for placing requests, placing requests for pupils with additional support needs and exclusions.


The guidance is non-statutory and explains the changes to the Education (Appeal Committee Procedures) (Scotland) Regulations 1982 (“the 1982 Regulations). It provides guidance for managing the process for placing request appeals made under the Education (Scotland) Act 1980 (“1980 Act”) and the Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act 2004 (for appeals which would be heard by the Education Appeal Committee) and appeals against exclusions of pupils under the 1980 Act.

While the prevalence of the coronavirus (COVID-19) has decreased significantly, and many aspects of life have returned to the position prior to the pandemic, local authorities and appeal committees will note that Scottish Ministers have decided to keep the ability to hold appeal hearings remotely in place for 2024 to 2025 and any exclusions appeals during this period. This is to reflect the broad consensus that the ability to use remote means for such hearings has been beneficial for a range of reasons. Scottish Ministers Consulted in 2024 on whether to make use of remote means in appeal hearings a permanent feature of the appeals process and are considering responses to the consultation.

This guidance is provided to education authorities and appeal committees who are required to comply with the above regulations.

The Choosing a School Guide is available online and education authorities can continue to signpost parents to these documents for information about the relevant timeframes and deadlines that apply to the placing request and appeal processes.

Arrangements for appeal hearings in 2024 to 2025

The provisions allowing remote hearings, which were introduced by the 2020 amendments to the 1982 Regulations, remain in place. This means that appeal committees may continue to hold hearings virtually, including by video or telephone conference or, if all parties agree, entirely in writing. This provides a range of alternatives to face-to-face appeal hearings giving appeal committees and participants continued flexibility in how appeal hearings are conducted, and to reduce any continuing risk of virus transmission.

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