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Vulnerable adders in Cannock Chase, School admission appeal panels volunteers wanted

Written by on 14 February 2024

Residents are being asked to take extra care if walking their dogs in Cannock Chase in the next few weeks, as vulnerable adders emerge from hibernation.

As the species faces increasing threats, dog walkers and other site users can play a vital role in their conservation.

With temperatures beginning to rise, adders are starting to wake from their winter slumber. Cold spells, however, cause them to be sluggish, making them particularly susceptible to encounters with curious dogs.

Adders are shy creatures that will avoid interactions with people and dogs where possible. However, they may bite if they feel threatened and they are venomous.

Dog owners are advised to take their pet to a vet immediately if it is bitten.

Image – An adder photographed in Cannock Chase courtesy of Ben Painter


Staffordshire County Council is on the lookout for new volunteers to sit on their school admission appeal panels.

These panels make legally binding decisions when parents feel that their school place offer is unsuitable.

With more than 400 schools, the county council hears hundreds of admissions appeals annually and rely completely on independent appeal panel members.

Volunteers do not even need to have a school background to be on the panel—they will get full training, and will need to be able to listen to both sides of a case and form a reasoned view.

There is no restriction on who can apply, as panels are representative of the community.

Staffordshire County Council Cabinet Member for Education Jonathan Price said: “Although we allocate places using our admission criteria, there are always cases where a parent feels their school place offer is unsuitable. Volunteers on our school admissions appeal panel play a vital role in ensuring that appeals are heard fairly, and both sides of a case are listened to before making a reasoned decision.

To find out more, contact the admissions appeal team at

Picture Caption: Appeal panel members Christina Robotham and Sue Charles