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How to Appeal to the SEND Tribunal

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If your child has Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND), adequate provision for them must be made for them at their school. When parents are unhappy with a decision made on their child’s behalf by their Local Authority, they have the right to appeal to the SEND Tribunal.

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The SEND Tribunal Appeal Process

Local Authority Decision Letter

When a Local Authority makes a SEND decision about your child, they will set this out in a decision letter. This letter will also include information on appealing and accessing a mediation service. It’s essential that you have this letter as this provides you with your right of appeal.

Who Can Appeal?

When it concerns a child under 16, their parent or guardian will bring the appeal. When a young person turns 16, the appeal is brought in their name, unless they don’t have the mental capacity in which to do so. In that situation, a parent or guardian can act as an alternative person bringing the appeal in the best interests of that young person.

Types of Appeal

The types of appeals that can be made to the SEND Tribunal are:

  • Where a Local Authority is refusing to assess a child or young person for an Education, Health and Care Needs Assessment (EHCNA)
  • Where a Local Authority is refusing to issue an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) following an EHCNA
  • Where a Local Authority is ceasing to maintain a child or young person’s EHCP
  • To amend a child or young person’s EHCP

Right of Appeal and Mediation

Before you can make your appeal, you must consider mediation. You’ll find the details for contacting your local mediation service on the Local Authority’s decision letter. Whether you decide to engage in mediation or not, once you have made your decision, you will be issued with a mediation certificate.

Once you have your decision letter and mediation certificate, your appeal must be lodged with the SEND Tribunal within two months of the date on the decision letter, or one month of obtaining the mediation certificate; whichever is latest. This is regardless of when you physically received the letter.

For example:

  • Date of Local Authority’s decision letter 1 March 2019
  • Last day to obtain a mediation certificate 30 April 2019
  • You obtained the mediation certificate on the 30 April 2019
  • Last day for your appeal to be lodged with the Tribunal 29 May 2019

SEND Appeal Documents

Once you’ve obtained your mediation certificate and decision letter, you must complete the relevant SEND Tribunal form, see Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal forms. Your reasoning for appealing the Local Authority’s decision can either be filled in on the form or attached separately.

You then submit your completed SEND Tribunal form, mediation certificate, Local Authority decision letter and any other relevant documents, such as school reports, letters of diagnosis or recent expert reports from Educational Psychologists, Occupational Therapists and Speech and Language Therapists, to the Tribunal by email, the details for which can be found on the Tribunal form.

The SEND Tribunal will then contact you within 20 working days with further information on your appeal.

Our SEND Education Lawyers Can Help You

As soon as you receive your decision letter from the Local Authority, our specialist Education Solicitors and advisors can help you at every stage of your appeal, including lodging your appeal, negotiating with the Local Authority and representing you at your hearing.

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