Appeals can be made to the SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disability) Tribunal against particular decisions made by Local Authorities.
An appeal can be made by the parent or carer of a child under compulsory school age (16), or directly by young people aged 16-25. In the case of a young person who lacks capacity, a parent, carer or representative may appeal on their behalf.
In relation to EHC (Education, Health and Care) plans, the tribunal can deal with appeals relating to the educational sections.
Appeals can be made to the SEND tribunal in the following circumstances where the Local Authority:
Refuse to carry out an EHC needs assessment that has been requested
Have carried out an EHC needs assessment but then decided that the child or young person does not require an EHC plan to meet their special educational needs
Have agreed to make an EHC plan but there is a dispute about its contents relating to:
The description of the special educational needs
The special educational provision
The school or institution (or lack of)
Refuse to carry out an EHC needs re-assessment that has been requested
Refuse to amend an EHC plan following an emergency or annual review (Click here to visit the Annual Review page)
If the EHC plan is ceased
You can also request that tribunal makes recommendations about the health and/or social care aspects of EHC plans, but only where you are already making an appeal on the educational aspect of the EHC plan (please click here for more information).
Starting the Appeal Process
At the time of writing to inform you of their decision regarding any of the above, the Local Authority’s SEN team will inform you of your right to pursue an appeal to the SEND Tribunal. The appeal must be received by the Tribunal within 2 months of the date of the letter from the SEN team or 1 month from the date of obtaining a mediation certificate (whichever is the later date). In exceptional circumstances, the Tribunal may accept appeals outside of these time limits.
Parents, carers and young people who wish to register an appeal with the Tribunal may do so only after they have obtained a mediation certificate. The exception to this is if the appeal relates only to the school or institution where a child or young person is to be educated, trained or employed. In this situation, an appeal can be made directly to the Tribunal without the requirement to consider mediation.
For all other types of appeals, mediation must either be participated in or considered before a certificate is issued allowing you to appeal.
The company responsible for arranging mediation for Southwark residents is KIDS SEN Mediation. You can download their leaflet (pdf, 1.2mb) or visit their website for further information about the mediation process.
To request mediation (or a certificate if you do not wish to take part in mediation) you can either call KIDS on 0333 0062 835 or complete this form (docx, 874kb) and email it to them. Please also contact them to discuss any queries regarding the mediation process.
You must contact KIDS within 2 months of the date on the decision letter from the Local Authority to either request a certificate or to take part in mediation. It is best to contact them as soon as possible to avoid any risk of missing the deadline.
If you are considering pursuing an appeal, it is strongly recommended that you contact the SIAS team who can provide you with impartial advice and support on pursuing this.