Following Mr Cumming’s recent press conference many parents will be considering what is in the best interests of a child. One of the main concerns is that of education and where a child should go either at Primary or Secondary level. This question will be dictated by many factors including: distance, child care issues, family members enrolled at a school and academic achievement.
Most parties will now know whether or not their child has been accepted into their requested school. Sadly not all requests will be agreed by the council and so those people will have appealed or will be considering appealing against this decision.
Due to the present COV19 issues the Scottish Government has released further legislation to try to deal with the above matters. The Education (Miscellaneous Amendments) (Coronavirus) (Scotland) Regulations 2020 has temporarily altered how the appeal process will work though it is expected to return to normal in 2021. The main changes relate to timescale and procedure.
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. 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 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.
Any appeal hearings can now take place through video or telephone conference, or, if all involved agree to it, in writing. The appeal committee will generally now have 28 days from the conclusion of the hearing to inform you of its decision.
Please note that 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.
Assuming your appeal is unsuccessful then you also have the option to make a further appeal to your local Sheriff court. This should be done within 28 days of any rejection letter or expiry of the 4 months failed decision. While the courts have a discretion to waive this time limit it is not recommended that you rely on this.
We at Jackson Boyd would be happy to talk you through these important issues and assist with any action required by you at this challenging time.