When and What you can appeal

Know-how

Download the general guidance called 'How to appeal a Special Educational Needs and Disability Decision' which explains the appeal process in depth.  Highly recommended reading.  It is also helpful to watch the YouTube videos made by SENDIST.  See here.

  

When can I appeal?

You can appeal against a decision made by the Local Authority about your child if you are in one of the situations outlined below.

 

Appeals to the Tribunal must be made within the time limits set out in the letter from the Local Authority informing you of the decision, including the reasons for the decision.

 

The Local Authority has refused to secure (undertake) an EHC assessment of your child's (or young person's) special educational needs

You have concerns about your child's ability or progress and think an EHC plan may be required.

  • You (or your child’s school) ask the Local Authority to carry out an EHC assessment (also known as a statutory assessment).
  • The Local Authority refuses.
  • You can appeal to the Tribunal.  If the Tribunal agrees with your appeal, the Tribunal has the legal authority to order the Local Authority to undertake an EHC assessment.

Further information on this type of appeal is here.  

 

The Local Authority refuses to secure (issue) an EHC plan for your child or young person

Your Local Authority has undertaken an EHC assessment of your child’s special educational needs – but then they refuse to issue an EHC plan.  For decisions made on or after 3 April 2018:

  • You can appeal to the Tribunal.  If the Tribunal agrees with your appeal, the Tribunal has the legal authority to order the Local Authority to issue an EHC plan for your child.
  • The Tribunal can make recommendations that health or social care needs and provision are specified in the EHC plan.

Further information on this type of appeal is here 

 

An EHC plan has been issued (or a previous EHC plan has been replaced or amended) by the Local Authority 

If an EHC plan is issued on or after 3 April 2018 and you are unhappy with what it says you can appeal about certain sections of the plan as follows: 

  • the description of your child's special educational needs (Section B)
  • the provision to meet your child's needs (Section F)
  • the school or other placement your child should attend (Section I) or if there is no school named (Section I)
  • while Outcomes (Section E) cannot be directly appealed, the Tribunal can alter them in light of amendments to Section F.
  • the Social Care and Health sections of the EHC plan (Sections C, D, G or H)

 

The Tribunal has the legal authority to order the Local Authority to make amendments to the EHC plan.  Further information about this type of appeal is here (for appeals relation to Sections B and F) and here (for appeals concerning Section I - Placement).  For information about Health and Social Care assessments see here.

 

The Local Authority has reviewed your child's (or young person's) EHC plan and decided not to amend it

Your child's EHC plan must be reviewed every year. It is the Local Authority's legal responsibility to complete the review and to inform you of their decision within four weeks of the Annual Review meeting.  

  • You can appeal this decision, to try to achieve the changes you are seeking to Sections B, F or I of your child (or young person’s) EHC plan.
  • The Tribunal can recommend amendments to the Health and Social Care sections (C, D, G or H) of the EHC plan

Further information about this type of appeal is here.  

 

The Local Authority has decided an EHC plan is no longer necessary (known as 'Cease to Maintain')

  • You can appeal, if you believe that the Local Authority should keep the EHC plan in place.  This type of appeal also allows you to request amendments to the contents (Sections B, F and I) of your child’s EHC plan.
  • The Tribunal can recommend amendments to the Health and Social Care sections (C, D, G or H) of the EHC plan.

Further information about this type of appeal is here.  

 

Your child has an EHC plan.  You (or your child's school) have requested the Local Authority to undertake a re-assessment of your child’s special educational needs and this has been refused

  • You can appeal to the Tribunal, provided that there has been no EHC assessment undertaken within the last six months. If the Tribunal agrees with your appeal, the Tribunal has the legal authority to order the Local Authority to carry out a re-assessment, 

Further information about this type of appeal is here.

   

How do I appeal?

Appeals are made to the Tribunal (also known as SENDIST). This is a court, which is independent of the Local Authority, that will make a decision on the evidence and, if they agree with your appeal, or agree parts of it, they will make an Order which the Local Authority must implement.  Alternatively, the Tribunal may decide to dismiss your appeal.

 

Find the right appeal form to download here.

 

Mediation

The first decision you will need to make is whether or not to attend a Mediation meeting. In most types of appeals you will need to obtain a Mediation Certificate before you submit your appeal.

 

Find more information about Mediation here

 

Timing

Once you get the letter from the Local Authority giving you the decision you want to appeal against, you only have two months from the date on the letter from the Local Authority to submit an appeal to the First-tier Tribunal (also known as SENDIST) or request Mediation.

 

Completing the appeal form

Go to the Completing the Appeal Form 

Read the information and advice.

 

Legal Aid

The Legal Aid Checker can help you find out if you can get legal help with your appeal.  This is just for help with preparation of your appeal, but it can include help getting independent reports where necessary.  It does not include representation at the hearing of your appeal. 

 

Supporting organisations

There are organisations that can help listed under Resources where you can book a call-back session with a legally-trained advisor to offer 'next step' advice.  In some cases, they can provide individual casework support.

 

What happens when my appeal is finished?

Once your appeal is finished and the Tribunal has issued a Decision, the Local Authority must implement the Decision within certain time limits.  The Tribunal has provided guidance for parents here.

 

If your appeal is dismissed, then there is an option to request a review of the Decision or submit an appeal to the Upper Tribunal although you can only appeal the outcome if there are clear legal grounds to do so. You are advised to consult a solicitor with experience of appeals to the Upper Tribunal to discover if there are legal grounds to appeal.

 

How to Appeal