The School Closure Review Panels were established by virtue of section 17A of the Schools (Consultation) (Scotland) Act 2010. On 30 March 2015 the Panels took over the responsibility from the Scottish Ministers of reviewing and determining education authority school closure decisions which are called in by the Scottish Ministers.
The Convener appoints persons eligible to be selected to serve as a member of a Panel for a period of up to five years and each individual is eligible for reappointment thereafter. Currently there are ten persons eligible to be selected to serve as a member of a Panel.
Those persons eligible to be selected to serve form a pool from which the Convener is to select a Panel of three when a called-in closure decision is being referred to it. The main statutory function of a Panel is to review a called in closure decision of an education authority and form a decision as described below. One of the three members in a Panel is selected by the Convener to be the Chair of the Panel. Each Panel is independent of other Panels, the Convener, the Scottish Government and any other bodies or individuals.
A particular Panel reviews the school closure decision by considering whether the authority has (i) failed significantly to comply with the requirements of the Schools (Consultation) (Scotland) Act 2010; and (ii) whether the authority has failed to take proper account of a material consideration relevant to the decision. In carrying out this review, the Panel may request further information from the local authority, and advice from Education Scotland (HMIE) or “any other person as it may reasonably require for the relevant purposes”.
The Panel does not be re-take the authority’s decision or consider any aspects of the closure apart from the two considerations set out above. It is the local authority’s right to make a school closure decision, the Panel’s role is to ensure the decision has been taken in line with the law.
The conflicts of interest schedule for persons eligible to serve as members of the Panel may be viewed here
Remuneration and Expenses
Panel members are entitled to receive a fee of £200 per day for every 7.5 devoted to performing their functions (as required) on a pro rata basis. Panel members are entitled to be reimbursed for expenses that are necessary or expedient for the proper discharge of their functions. Rates are equal to those set by the Scottish Government for its staff. This also applies to persons eligible to be selected to serve as a member of a Panel for time devoted to and expenses related to training arranged by the Convener.