I also took with me on the day 2 letters of support from the school, 1 page from the class teacher and 1 page from the SENco which they skimmed over. I could not submit these earlier as the class teacher had been awy due to long term illness and the SENco did not realise I was appealing until the class teacher discussed my dd's case with her.
This is not a problem because the panel clearly accepted the late evidence, which was not lengthy, and they were able to read it quickly at the hearing.
I submitted my appeal after the 1st February, however my evidence was submitted afterwards but within the timescale stated. My evidence was 6 pages long, made up of a school report that was 3 pages long, 1 medical report that was 2 pages long and the final letter was from the school's Educational Psychologist.
There may be an issue with regard to these
6 pages that the clerk failed to circulate. I'm not saying that you have anything to worry about yet, but I cannot help wondering what is in the clerk's notes (whether it is recorded that the panel did spend time looking at the evidence later in the day.) I'm also a bit concerned that hearings were being got through at a rapid rate.
Because your appeal was submitted after 1st February, the new Code is being used. It states:
2.21 c) written material and evidence must have been seen by all the parties.
"Must have been seen
" is clearly in the past tense. If the panel didn't have the evidence before
the hearing (because the clerk failed to circulate it), and didn't read it at
the hearing (because they didn't want to spend time doing so), then I don't believe it's good enough to say "We'll look at it in the future - but before taking our decision
". In my view the correct procedure would have been an adjournment.
The fact that the hearing proceeded without the panel knowing exactly what was in the evidence meant that you were deprived of the opportunity to respond to any questions arising from the evidence that they might have had.
Let's wait and see what the decision is, but if they have turned down your appeal, then I think you could have grounds for asking the ombudsman whether this was a fair hearing.
It would be for the ombudsman to decide whether or not it was a fair hearing, and whether or not to request a fresh hearing in front of a different panel.
(I'm assuming for the moment that this is a foundation school. If it's an academy, the procedure for making a complaint would be different.)