Publication - Advice and guidance

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

Published: 24 Feb 2021
Last updated: 24 Feb 2021 - see all updates

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

Published:
24 Feb 2021
Coronavirus (COVID-19): school placing requests and appeals - information for parents
These regulations come into effect on 27 February 2021, subject to the will of Parliament.

Why the process for school placing requests and appeals, and for exclusion 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 (including exclusion appeals) will be different in 2021.

We have updated the rules to change some of the timeframes and, as in 2020, 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 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 or exclusion) 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 2 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.

First published: 24 Feb 2021 Last updated: 24 Feb 2021 -