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Appeals and mediation

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When making appeals to tribunal and when going through mediation, it's important that you understand the process and the steps you should follow.

The says that parents and young people can appeal to the Tribunal about:

  • a decision by a local authority not to carry out an EHC needs assessment or reassessment
  • a decision by a local authority that it is not necessary to issue an EHC plan following an assessment
  • the description of a child or young person’s SEN specified in an EHC plan
  • the special educational provision specified
  • the school or other institution or type of school or other institution (such as a mainstream school or college) specified in the plan
  • the fact that no school or other institution is specified
  • an amendment to these elements of the EHC plan
  • a decision by a local authority not to amend an EHC plan following a review or reassessment
  • a decision by a local authority to cease to maintain an EHC plan

See further information about:

Appeal first steps

If you disagree with any decision, the first thing to do is to contact the Special Educational Needs Service on telephone: 01904 554336, or by email to:, and ask to talk to your Special Needs Educational Designated Officer (SENDO). Many disagreements are sorted out by requesting a meeting with the SENDO, without the need for further escalation.

It's important to establish all of the factors which informed the decision, as this will help you decide next steps for your child or young person.

You can ask them why they made their decision, talk about the main issues and tell them why you disagree.

These discussions will help you decide whether to appeal and if you do, it could be useful when building your case.

If an agreement cannot be reached between you and the local authority through discussion with your SENDO, you can ask for , and have the right to lodge an .

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Mediation is a type of disagreement resolution. The service is free and confidential.

Before you can register an appeal to tribunal, you must contact a mediation advisor. This is to see whether mediation could help you to resolve your disagreement without going to appeal.

In most cases you will need a mediation certificate before you can appeal.

The SEND Code of Practice says:

Mediation can take place following decisions by a local authority not to carry out an EHC needs assessment, not to draw up an EHC plan, after they receive a final EHC plan or amended plan, following a decision not to amend an EHC plan or a decision to cease to maintain an EHC plan.

You don't need to seek mediation advice first if the appeal is only about:

  • the name of the school, or college
  • the type of school, or college on the plan,
  • the fact that no school or other institution is named

The Mediation Service in York is provided by .

You can contact them on telephone: 03330 062835, or email:

See further information on the .

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Appealing to Tribunal

Making an appeal is free unless you choose to have legal representation. .

The right of appeal moves to the young person when they reach the end of compulsory school age; the last Friday in June in the year the child turns 16.

Disagreement over the content of a child’s EHC plan

You can appeal against the contents of an Education Health and Care (EHC) plan, including:

  • Section B (special educational needs)
  • Section F (special educational provision)
  • Section I (the school or other setting to be attended)

See further information about .

All of Sections B, F and I can be appealed. It is normally not advisable just to appeal Section I, as the SEND Tribunal will be considering whether the placement is able to meet the needs and provision set out in Sections B and F.

See further advice on .

Appealing the health and social care part of an EHC Plan to the SEND Tribunal

From 2018 the SEND Tribunal has some new powers to look at Health and Social Care as well as Education section of an EHC plan. This means you can ask the Tribunal to make recommendations about the health and social care of an EHC Plan as part of an appeal.

To appeal the health or social care part of an EHC Plan you must also be appealing the education part of the EHC Plan.

This means you can ask the tribunal to make recommendations about health and or social care as part of an appeal about:

  • a decision not to issue an EHC Plan following an EHC Needs Assessment or reassessment
  • a decision not to carry out an EHC Needs reassessment
  • an appeal against the contents of an EHC Plan, following the issue of a final EHC Plan
  • a decision following an annual review not to amend an EHC Plan
  • a decision to cease to maintain an EHC Plan

It's worth remembering that any health and social care provision which educates or trains a child or young person should be specified under ‘Special Education Provision‘ (section F) of the EHC Plan. This might include speech or occupational therapies for example.

See more information about on the IPSEA website.

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Lodging an appeal

You can lodge an appeal either:

  • within 2 months of the original decision being sent by the local authority, or;
  • within 1 month of the data of the mediation certificate

Whichever is the latter.

The IPSEA website has lots more information about how to .

To register an appeal, you must fill out a ‘Notice of Appeal’ form.

See further information, and a link to download the Notice of Appeal form: (GOV.UK).

Alternately you can contact HM Courts and Tribunal Service for a form:

Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal,
1st Floor,
Darlington Magistrates Court,

Telephone: 01325 289350.

It usually takes about 12 weeks from when you register an appeal to when you go to the tribunal hearing. This gives you plenty of time to prepare, but it can also be a challenge if you need a quick decision.

See (GOV.UK).

You can contact us for further information, or refer to our .

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