School Closure Review Panels are independent statutory bodies which have been created to enhance and strengthen the process of local authority school closures in Scotland.
Scottish local authorities proposing to close a school within their area must do so in line with the requirements of the Schools (Consultation) (Scotland) Act 2010 (“the 2010 Act”) and it is for the Scottish Ministers to decide whether the authority has met these statutory requirements. The 2010 Act contains the power for Ministers to “call in” a local authority school closure decision, if there is evidence that the requirements may not have been met.
On 30 March 2015 the School Closure Review Panels took over the responsibility from the Scottish Ministers of reviewing and determining certain local authority school closure decisions. If the Scottish Ministers decide to call in such a local authority decision, they then refer the decision to the Convener of the Panels. The Convener will appoint a Panel of three Panel Members to review and determine the closure decision. The Panel must satisfying itself that, in taking the decision, the local authority has fulfilled its statutory responsibilities and that no material considerations relevant to the decision have been missed.
School Closure Review Panels cannot become involved in any school closures unless and until the matter is called in by the Scottish Ministers.