I hear there are 50-60 appeals for Ribston. A mum from DD2's school went for her DD's appeal on Fri , and was asked to go back later in the day as the appeal before her was over running.
I feel very sorry to anyone who that happens to. Parents are pretty nervous to start with, let alone if the appeal is delayed.
The reason for it is that parents have to be given a time for the appeal to start. In Gloucestershire, the appointments are usually 1/2 hour apart (although loo, coffee & lunch breaks are factored in for the panel & clerk). However, there is NO limit on how long an appeal can take; parents are allowed to continue for as long as they need to to get their point across. Of course, the chair of the panel will try & move things along if the arguments start getting circular, but has to be sure that everything has been said that the parents need to say (and of course, the school side as well).
If the clerk knows in advance that an appeal may prove complex (or over run for whatever reason), then they would try & schedule for that.
The panel will do all they can to make up time. In the past I've missed coffee & loo breaks & cut lunch to 15 mins; skipping a coffee is a small price to pay to keep stress of the parents to a minimum!