What this website does
This website helps parents of children with special educational needs and/or disabilities living in England to get the right educational provision for their child or young person.
We provide information on how to argue your case and if necessary appeal against decisions made by Local Authorities.
The website is relevant to children and young persons up to the age of 25. Young persons aged 16 and over can use the website and if necessary make an appeal themselves.
Parents of children with special educational needs, and especially those with EHC Plans, need to be aware of the changes currently happening as a result of The Coronavirus Act 2020.
Basically, this means from 1 May - 31 July 2020, the legal duty on local authorities to make the provision in your child's EHC Plan has been changed to a 'reasonable endeavours' duty. This means if, for example, your child requires 1:1 support in school which is clearly specified in Section F of your child's EHC Plan and, whether your child is attend school or is at home, the local authority is not obliged to provide 1:1 support. However, this does not excuse the local authority from making any provision for your child.
For further information, including what you can do, see presentation by Steve Broach, barrister at 39 Essex Chambers, here.
In addition, temporary Regulations have been introduced which means, if the local authority can show that any delay results from COVID-19 (such as short staffed etc.) then the local authority can extend the legal deadlines which govern all the statutory processes from requesting a statutory assessment to issuing a final EHC Plan, including completing an Annual Review. These Regulations are due to be reviewed on 25 September 2020.
For further information, including what you can do, see presentation by Thomas Amaraoui, barrister at 39 Essex Chambers, here.
Working through the website
Start by looking at The System. This section tells you how the system should work, and should help you to identify where your child is in the system.
Then look at How to Argue. This section gives advice on how to make your case as convincing as possible. We give general advice on the skills you need to get help for your child, such as working with schools, note-taking and video evidence.
The How to Appeal sections tells you how to appeal against Local Authority decisions affecting your child, including when and what you can appeal.
Are you eligible for Legal Aid to help with the preparation of your appeal? For more information see here.
The National Trial
Since 3 April 2018, the Tribunal's powers have been extended, under a system called 'The National Trial'
The Regulations enable the Tribunal to make a recommendation about health and social care needs or provision as part of an appeal by the parent or young person relating to:
Where health and social care needs and/or provision are not included in the plan, the Tribunal has the power to recommend they be specified in the plan.
Where health and social care needs and/or provision are included in the plan, the Tribunal has the power to recommend that the need or provision be amended.
The Tribunal will not make decisions relation to conflicting clinical diagnosis from medical professionals concerning health needs or health provision.
Additional useful information:
In the Other section you will find useful resources and information about Health and Social Care. You will also find information about the bespoke Training we can offer which can be tailored to your needs. For more information, see here.
It's a good idea to download the SEND Code of Practice (2015). This sets out what schools and Local Authorities should be doing. This website makes references to relevant sections of the Code of Practice.
Getting the right help for a child or young person with special educational needs has never been easy, and it is getting harder. Don't give up.
We don't present to have all the answers, but we hope we can help. We've been there ourselves.
Please provide some feedback if you have found this site useful (or not).
Printing from this website:
If printed copies are required of the website (i.e. other than specific downloads), it is best to print in landscape mode.
We are also able to offer training for parents living in England. We have provided training to Parent Forums and can provide testimonials. Please fill in the form for further details.
We are most grateful to the Big Lottery who have provided funding to help make this website possible.
The information on this website is not to be regarded as advice for an individual case. Instead we aim to provide a wide range of information, guidance and resources that we hope will be helpful to your situation. For assistance with your individual circumstances, you are strongly advised to make contact with one of the Helplines listed in our Resources section.