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SEND tribunal appeals

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You can appeal to the First-tier Tribunal (Special Educational Needs and Disability) if you disagree with your local authority’s decisions about your child’s special educational needs.

An appeal must be lodged within two months of getting the letter about the decision made by the Local Authority that you wish to dispute or within one month of a mediation certificate, whichever is the later.

Appealing to the Tribunal should be your first resort if the local authority refuses to assess your child’s educational, health and care (EHC) needs, create an EHC Plan or change what’s in your child’s EHC Plan. You can also appeal to the tribunal if a local authority has discriminated against your child or someone else because of your child’s disability.

Before you appeal, you should try to discuss the problem with your local authority through the local special educational needs mediation service. You must try mediation first if you’re appealing a decision about an EHC Plan, in which case the appeal must be made within two months of the date on the decision letter or one month from the date of the mediation certificate - whichever is later.

If you win your appeal, the local authority must act on the tribunal’s decision within a set amount of time. Some actions are required to take immediate effect and others, such as making an EHC Plan, must be completed within five weeks.  If you lose your appeal you may be able to get the decision set aside if you think there’s been a mistake in the process or you can ask the tribunal to review their decision if your circumstances have changed since the initial decision was made.

Appeals that can be made

Appeals can be brought by the parents of a child or a young person against a Local Authority’s decision not to secure an EHC Needs Assessment or when they have decided that it is not necessary for special educational provision to be made in accordance with a Plan.

An appeal can also be made where an EHC Plan is maintained for the child or young person and it is amended, altered or replaced in circumstances that can include:

There is no right of appeal to the SEND Tribunal about the health and social care matters within an EHCP but there is currently a pilot scheme taking place in certain local authorities. Under this scheme, when the Tribunal is determining an appeal concerning and EHCP matter, the Tribunal may make recommendations in respect of certain health and social care matters in an EHCP.

Tribunal powers

The Tribunal’s powers are to:

Contact Access Legal Solicitors

Access Legal Solicitor's Education Law team are amongst the country's leading experts in this area of law. We have years of experience working with parents and will provide initial advice and explain the options available to you entirely without any obligation.

Our goal is to ensure your child receives the best education for their needs, not to put families under even more pressure than they already are. It’s why we do this work. Call our free helpline on 03700 868 686 for more advice.

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