How Long Do I Have to Appeal a SEND Decision?

Author:
Samantha Hale
Partner, Education & Community Care Solicitor
Date:
17/08/2020

If you’re not happy with a decision from the Local Authority’s about your child’s provision, you can appeal to the SEND Tribunal within 2 months of the date of the decision letter, or within 1 month of the date of your mediation certificate – whichever date is latest.

If you lodge your appeal past this date, then your appeal might still be heard by the First-tier Tribunal if your reasons for missing the deadline are valid, and they agree to allowing your appeal late.

Our Education Solicitors and SEND Lawyers can help you to lodge an appeal, negotiate with your Local Authority and represent you at a SEND Hearing. We will always outline the deadlines for you so we can lodge your appeal in time. And if you contact us after your deadline, where appropriate we can advise you on submitting a late appeal.

For legal advice call our specialist Education Law Solicitors.

Call us on 08002605010 or request a callback and we will help you.

Before You Appeal to the SEND Tribunal

Before registering your appeal, you’ll need to show the SEND Tribunal that you’ve spoken to a mediation service. You do not have to engage in mediation if after contacting them you decide not to.

Mediation is a meeting that allows you to discuss the issues with your Local Authority in person. You could use this time to tell them why you’re not happy with their decision and suggest an alternative solution.

You’ll get a mediation certificate usually within 3 days after you attend the mediation meeting or if you don’t want to attend mediation, after requesting a certificate is issued instead.

We understand that even after any mediation, you might not feel satisfied that the Local Authority are doing enough for your child with SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disability). If this is the case, you can still appeal to the SEND Tribunal so long as you submit an appeal within the deadline outlined above.

What Happens if I Miss the Deadline to Appeal?

If you’ve missed the deadline to appeal, don’t worry. You can still lodge an appeal but you’ll have to explain your reasons why it’s late on the appeal form, or outline them on a separate form to send with your appeal.

Once you have submitted your appeal, a Judge will look at it and will decide whether or not to allow it as a late appeal. From experience, if there is a valid reason for it being late, the Tribunal will usually allow it.

How to Appeal to the SEND Tribunal

After you’ve got your decision letter and mediation certificate, you’ll need to send the below documents to the Tribunal:

  • SEND Tribunal Form, which must include your reason you’re appealing the decision and why your appeal is late (or you must attach your reason separately within the same email)
  • Mediation Certificate
  • Local Authority’s Decision Letter
  • Education, Health and Care Plan (if you have one)
  • Any other relevant documents, e.g. school reports or letters of diagnosis

You’ll can find the SEND Tribunal form on the gov.uk website.

The SEND Tribunal will get back to you about your appeal within 20 working days, whether you’ve lodged the appeal late or not. However, this can sometimes take longer.

Speak to an Education Law Solicitor

Our Education Law Solicitors can help you to draft your appeal. If you are applying past the deadline we can get your application done quickly and help make sure your reasons for applying late are written clearly.

If your child has SEND we know how concerning it can be if they’re not getting the right provision to help them at school. We know you wouldn’t have intentionally missed the deadline for lodging your appeal, so we can help explain this to the Tribunal for you.

We will always put your child’s best interests at the heart of everything we do because every child has the right to a suitable education.

Our specialist Education team take on both publically and privately funded appeals and we will always be transparent about our fees.

For legal advice call our Education Solicitors

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