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The Appeals Procedure

PQH (NI) Appeals Policy


This policy outlines the process for making an appeal against decisions made in PQH (NI)
assessment processes.

The basis for appeals

An appeal may be made on the basis of:

  • a view that an incorrect judgement has been made, and/or
  • a belief that the incorrect process has been followed resulting in an applicant or trainee head being unsuccessful.

Before considering an appeal it should be borne in mind that all decisions made by PQH (NI) have already been subject to rigorous moderation, particularly in cases which are borderline or unsuccessful.

Unsuccessful applicants are able to reapply for PQH (NI) in a future application round. Trainee headteachers are able to be reassessed for graduation.

Points at which an appeal may be made

An appeal may be made following:

  • Application assessment: An appeal may be made by an applicant who has made an application for PQH (NI). On receipt of the application assessment result, an unsuccessful applicant may appeal against the decision (on judgement or process) about his/her readiness to proceed to the Development stage of PQH (NI).
  • Graduation board: A trainee head may appeal against the decision (on judgement or process) made about his/her readiness only after their third and final opportunity to graduate.

Informal resolution

Applicants and trainee headteachers should seek to address concerns on the process, informally by contacting PQH (NI) as soon as possible, but within 5 working days of the decision about which s/he wishes to appeal.  No feedback on a judgement can be given until the Appeals Procedure has concluded.

Other concerns

Where applicants or trainee headteachers have concerns about any other aspect of their participation in PQH (NI), they should raise these directly with PQH (NI).

Making an appeal

1 - An applicant or trainee headteacher who wishes to make an appeal concerning application or the graduation board, should:

  • Obtain an appeal form electronically from the PQH (NI) website,  download  Application Appeals Form (  Application Appeals Form  *No more than one page to be submitted for an Appeals Form.)
  • Complete in full including:
    • the name and contact address of the applicant or trainee headteacher (hereafter called the appellant);
    • the school or other organisation at which the appellant works; and
    • a clear statement about the basis for the appeal (i.e., against the judgement or on procedural grounds).
  • Sign, date and send to either

Email -

OR post to;

Emma McCourt
Regional Training Unit
Education Authority - Belfast Region
40 Academy Street

  • The form should be submitted to RTU by the deadline agreed, which will normally be 10 working days from notification of the judgement (Date of letter).

2 - PQH (NI) will have discretion to extend the time limit, where not to extend it would result in substantial injustice to the appellant. For this purpose, substantial injustice could be seen as occurring where the appellant's ability to submit an appeal was impaired by his or her own health or that of someone close to him or her and could be confirmed by a doctor's note.

The appeal process

On receipt of the appeal form, RTU will:

- acknowledge receipt of the appeal in writing within five working days

Where the appeal is against an application stage assessment Judgement, RTU will:

  1. Arrange for the original Application Form paperwork associated with the judgement to be re-marked by two experienced assessors as soon as possible, but within 3 working weeks of the receipt of the paperwork.  The assessors will each independently assess the paperwork using the relevant mark scheme and come to a decision.  They will then agree together a mark and a judgement.  The assessors will only use the appellant’s original paperwork and their completed Appeals Form.
  2. Pass the judgement made by the assessors, together with the original paperwork, moderation reports and any notes made during the appeal process to PQH (NI).
  3. The PQH (NI) will review the original process and the work undertaken by the two appeals assessors.  No new evidence will be taken into account.
  4. Within 5 working days of the review, the appellant will be informed by letter of the outcome of the appeal and will be provided with reasons for the decision.
  5. The result of this appeal, is final.

Where the appeal is against a matter of Process, RTU will:

  1. Examine the nature of the appeal and investigate the matter. How the appeal is investigated will depend on the nature of the appeal.
  2. Keep a record of the investigation to be passed to an Appeals Panel.
  3. Determine whether re-marking is required, in which case the procedure outlined in 1 will be followed, with the inclusion of the additional information from the investigation.
  4. Where a procedural fault is indicated, RTU will decide on the need to gather further information.

Role of the Appeals Panel

  1. The decision of the appeals panel in all cases will either:
    • ratify the original decision, or
    • overturn the original decision.
  2. Within five working days of the hearing the appellant will be informed by letter of the outcome of the appeal and will be provided with reasons for the decision.
  3. The result of the appeal, chaired by an independent member, is final.
  4. The panel may also make recommendations to PQH (NI) on matters arising from the appeal.

Composition of the Appeals Panel

The appeals panel consists of:

  • Senior Education Officer and at least two other nominations from the Education Authority and /or Employing Authority.

The remit of the Appeals Panel

  1. The remit of the Appeals Panel is to consider all appeals presented and determine whether or not to uphold or to reject the appeal. These are the only two options open to the panel.
  2. The panel may consider only the evidence presented to them in reaching a decision.
  3. In cases where there is a procedural element to the appeal, the Appeals Panel may make recommendations to the PQH(NI) Assistant Advisory Officer.
  4. Panel members may question the PQH (NI) Assistant Advisory Officer on:
    • matters pertaining to the individual case
    • any matters of precedent
    • matters of detail concerning PQH(NI) procedures
  5. The panel is not remitted to introduce new assessment or moderation requirements or policy to PQH (NI).
  6. The panel may make recommendations for inclusion in the letter to the appellant and the Chair of the panel must approve all such letters.
  7. In cases where a panel member recognises the appellant, he/she must declare this and not contribute to consideration of the case.

Access to information

Under the terms of the Data Protection Act (DPA) a PQH (NI) participant may, at any time, request information held about them by PQH (NI). For example, a copy of an assessment file may be requested in order for the participant to establish if they have grounds for an appeal. An oral request for access to the file may be made, but must be followed by a request in writing (or by email) to RTU as soon as possible and within no more than 10 working days following a decision.

RTU may be required to redact elements of the file to protect individuals named within the papers.

For futher information please contact Emma McCourt on 028 90 56 4291 or Michael Kealey on 028 90 564 101

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