I have posted a few(confidential) details to the appeals box. If the Secretary of State finds maladministration has occured what can he recommend apart from a fresh appeal? Does he have the power to instruct the school to provide the pupil with a place?
He can't instruct the school to offer a place. This may seem unfair, but the SoS didn't hear the appeal, nor did he hear the other appeals for the same intake for that school. Therefore, even though there may have been maladministration, it does not necessarily follow that your child would have won the appeal had there not been maladmin...
For example: if the appeal had been heard correctly, the panel may have decided your child was worthy of a place, but so were four others. They then went on to decide that the school could only accept 3 children before the prejudice against the school was greater than against the appeallants (ie - the school genuinely couldn't fit more pupils in). They would then have to decide which 3 to allow.
In that case, even though there was no maladministration, you could have still lost the appeal, so it would be wrong to then force the school to take your child.
It is possible for the High Court to force a school to take your child if you take thecase to Judicial Review. That, however, is very expensive, time consuming, more stressful than an appeal and virtually unheard of.
So the S of S can tell the school to offer a fresh hearing with a new panel. They should not know anything about the first appeal (well, they might guess that it's a re-hearing, but that will probably make them extra-careful) and certainly won't know any details of why it's being heard again. I've been on a couple of re-hearing panels in the past and always approach it with no pre-conceptions. One won the re-appeal, the other lost.
I should add that I can't see the appeals drop-box!