Support4SEND (formerly Parent Partnership Service) can offer impartial information advice and support about making an appeal and preparing your case.
For Hampshire parents, the Tribunal hearing may be in London or held more locally.
Decisions of the Tribunal are binding on the local authority.
You have the right to appeal if you are dissatisfied with any of the following decisions or actions:
• We decide not to carry out an EHC needs assessment requested by you or the early education setting, school or college
• Following the EHC needs assessment, we decide not to issue a EHC plan
• You remain dissatisfied with the special educational needs identified, the provision specified or the school placement named in the final EHC plan
• We don’t name a school in Section I
• We refuse your request to substitute the name of a different state funded school or college for the name of the school or college already recorded in Section I of the EHC plan
• We amend the EHC plan
• We decide to cease to maintain the EHC plan
• We refuse your request for a further assessment
• We decide not to change the EHC plan after a further assessment or an Annual Review.
Your appeal must be made within two months of the date that the Local Authority informs you about it's decision.
Before making an appeal you must demonstrate that you have considered mediation with the local authority by contacting the mediation service. They will be able to give you a certificate to show you have done so.
Your right to make an appeal is not affected by involvement in mediation. You can appeal without a mediation certificate only if your appeal relates to the type, or name of school or institution specified in the EHC plan.
Your appeal must be made within two months of the date that the Local Authority informs you about it's decision. Extra time may be allowed for your appeal depending on the involvement of the mediation service.
The First-tier Tribunal (SEN and Disability) is an independent body that hears parents’ appeals against local authority’s decisions on EHC needs assessments and EHC plans. The Tribunal is made up of three people, one of whom will chair the meeting and he or she will be a judge who is an expert in the field of education and SEN. The other two will have experience of special educational needs and local government and be an expert in the field of health and / or social care.
You can attend the Tribunal and representatives from voluntary groups or your independent parental supporter may be able to go with you. You can also ask professionals who know your child to speak on your behalf, if necessary, at the Tribunal.
The Tribunal will look at the evidence and will make a final decision. In reaching this decision, the Tribunal may consider how our actions compare with the guidance set out in the SEND Code of Practice.
If we have not followed the code, the Tribunal will not necessarily say that our decision was wrong. However, it will expect us to explain why we have not followed the code’s guidance and show that we were acting in the child’s or young person’s interests.
The Government are extending the powers of the First-tier Tribunal (SEND), sometimes referred to as the ‘SEND Tribunal’, to make non-binding recommendations about the health and social care aspects of Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans as part of a two-year trial. The trial will apply to decisions made or EHC plans issued/amended from 3 April 2018.
See also SEND Tribunal - Single Route of Redress – National Trial for further information.