SEND Local Offer

SEND Tribunal

The Tribunal forms part of the First-tier Tribunal (Health, Education and Social Care Chamber) and is overseen by Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunal Service.

Parents or carers of children and young people from 0 – 25 years can pursue appeals in the Tribunal and young people over the statutory school age of 16 can appeal in their own right, rather than through their parents.  The Tribunal’s role is to:

  • Hear appeals against decisions made by local authorities in relation to children and young people’s EHC needs assessments and EHC plans
  • Hear disability discrimination claims against schools when the local authority is the responsible body for a school

What can I appeal to the Tribunal about?

Parents, carers and young people can appeal to the Tribunal regarding:

  • A decision by the LA not to carry out an EHC needs assessment or re-assessment following a request
  • A decision by the LA that it is not necessary to issue an EHC plan following an integrated assessment
  • A decision by the LA not to amend an EHC plan following a review or re-assessment
  • A decision by the LA to cease to maintain a plan
  • Where an EHC plan is maintained for the child or young person:

    • The description of the child or young person’s SEN specified in a plan
    • The special education provision specified
    • The school or other institution
    • The type of school or other institution specified in the plan
    • No school or other institution is specified
    • An amendment to the above elements of the plan

The Tribunal can also consider appeals that relate to the special education provision that will be delivered via a personal budget

Independent of the SEND Tribunal, the avenues for complaints and redress with regards to social care and health provision consist of:

  • The Local Authority in terms of:

    • The child or young person’s social care needs
    • Social Care provision
    • The outcomes sought for the child or young person
    • The amount of Personal Budget or any conditions imposed

  • Health providers in terms of:

    • The child or young person’s health needs
    • Health provision
    • Decisions relating to a Personal Health Budget

What are the timescales for an appeal?

  • Parents, carers and young people (over compulsory school age until the end of the academic year in which they reach the age of 25) have two months to register an SEN appeal with the Tribunal from the date of receiving a notice from the LA containing a decision that can be appealed, although the Tribunal does have the power to accept appeals outside of the two month limit
  • Parents, carers or the young person can lodge an appeal within one month of a mediation certificate being issued.  This can be either following the mediation or the parent, carer or young person being given mediation information, whichever is the later

Who can appeal to the Tribunal regarding EHC needs assessments and plans?

  • Parents or carers of children and young people from age 0 to the end of compulsory schooling
  • Young people over compulsory school age until they reach 25 years (where they have the capacity to make the decision
  • Parents or carers of young people over compulsory school age until they reach 25 years where the young person lacks the capacity to make the decision

Can mediation make a difference to the outcome of the Appeal?

  • The Tribunal will not take account of the fact that mediation has or has not taken place
  • The Tribunal will not take into account the outcome of any mediation
  • Parents, carers and young people will not be disadvantaged at the Tribunal should they decide not to go to mediation

What decisions can the Tribunal make?

The Tribunal has the powers to:

  • Dismiss an appeal
  • Instruct the local authority to carry out an assessment
  • Instruct the local authority to make and maintain an EHC plan
  • Instruct the local authority to amend the EHC plan
  • Instruct the local authority to consider or correct a weakness identified within the plan

Read more information about the SEND Tribunal (Special Educational Needs and Disability).