Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): school placing requests and appeals

Published: 24 Apr 2020

Information for parents on changes to the process as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

24 Apr 2020
Coronavirus (COVID-19): school placing requests and appeals

Why the schools placing and appeals process will change

Disruption caused by the current coronavirus outbreak has come at the same time that local authorities would normally assess school placing requests from parents.

It is during this time that arrangements are also made for any appeal hearings resulting from this.

The impact of coronavirus on local authorities’ capacity as well as guidelines on social distancing mean that the placing request and appeals process will be different in 2020.

We have changed the rules to extend some of the timeframes and enable 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 arrangements in 2021.

School placing requests in 2020

If you made a placing request by the 15 March 2020 deadline, your local authority now has until 31 May 2020 to respond to you (this deadline was previously 30 April 2020).

In many cases, you will receive a response sooner than this or may have already received a response.

If you do not receive a response from your local authority by 31 May 2020, it will be deemed that they have refused your request and you will have the right to an appeal hearing.

If your request was made later than the 15 March 2020 deadline, local authorities now have three months, rather than two months, to respond to you. If you do not receive a response within three months, it will be deemed that the local authority has refused your request and you will have the right to an appeal hearing.

Appeals process in 2020

You have 28 days from the date you received a decision from the local authority to submit an appeal (this is the same as previous years). This deadline for submitting an appeal also applies in cases where the local authority is deemed to have refused your placing request.

Appeal committees will have 28 days to acknowledge your appeal request, rather than the current five working days. They will have up to three months to hold the appeal hearing.

Appeal committees will still be expected to hold appeal hearings as soon as possible but have been given more time as a result of the current coronavirus situation, for example as a result of absence due to ill health.

You must be given 14 days notice of the hearing date.

Hearings can take place through video or telephone conference, or, if all involved agree to it, in writing.

The appeal committee will have 28 days from the conclusion of the hearing to inform you of its decision. Previously this was two weeks.

If the appeal committee does not reach a decision on your appeal within 4 months, you will be able to appeal to the Sherriff Court. Previously this was two months.

The above 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, and we would expect the local authority to stay in contact with you to explain your options before the appeal is finalised.