The Schools Placing and Exclusion Appeals Committee (SPEAC)

This page provides information about the SPEAC and who is involved in it. To find out how to make an appeal click here.

 

Appeals about most placing requests and all exclusions are heard by the SPEAC, set up and maintained by Aberdeenshire Council. The Administrative Justice & Tribunals Council (Scottish Committee), whose statutory remit is to keep under review the administrative justice system and the constitution and working of tribunals, includes education appeal committees. 

An appeal committee set up under section 28 D(1) of the Education (Scotland) Act 1980 shall be constituted in accordance with Schedule A1.

An appeal committee shall consist of 3, 5 or 7 members nominated by the authority from among persons appointed by the authority under Schedule A1; and sufficient persons may be appointed to enable 2 or more appeal committees to sit at the same time?

As it is important that appellants have confidence that they will receive a fair hearing from an appeal committee, care is taken to avoid any choice of members that may give rise to a conflict of interest. Appeal committee members are reminded on appointment that the appeal committee is independent and requires to act impartially. Hearings are conducted in accordance with the requirements of natural justice and human rights legislation and in as informal an atmosphere as is compatible with the importance of the hearing and its governing rules.

Membership of the SPEAC

See Schedule A1 (3) of the Education (Scotland) Act 1980.

The persons appointed to sit as members of the SPEAC shall comprise:-

  • Elected members
  • Parents of children currently of school age (and who are often drawn from parent councils); or
  • Persons who, in the opinion of the authority, have experience in education; or are acquainted with the educational conditions in the area of the authority.

However, no person employed by the authority as Director of Education and Children's Services, or in an administrative or advisory capacity regarding the discharge of their education functions, can sit as a member.

Similarly, whilst there is no requirement to have an elected member at every SPEAC meeting, there is a requirement that, where elected members are involved, they must not form a greater majority than one on the SPEAC. In addition, an elected member cannot chair the SPEAC, if he/she is a member of the Council's Education and Children's Services Committee.

Clerk to the Committee

Each appeal committee has the services of a clerk. The clerk will normally be an appropriate officer of the local authority and will be responsible for arranging the hearings, circulating papers and liaising with the parties to the appeal. He/she is an employee who, in the course of his/her employment by the local authority, does not deal regularly with the admission of children to school, the exclusion of children or with children who have special educational needs. The clerk is also responsible for the production of a record of the hearing. If the committee withdraws or invites the parties to do so when they wish to consider their decision, the clerk remains with the committee but only for the purpose of offering advice on procedure and the application of the relevant legislation.

The clerk may also be called on to give advice on procedure to the appeal committee during the course of the hearing.

The Clerk to the SPEAC is Allan Bell, Legal and Governance (allan.bell@aberdeensire.gov.uk)

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