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Appeals and Mediation

If you disagree with a decision made by the local authority relating to your child's special educational needs, you can appeal to an independent body called the First Tier Tribunal for Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND).

If your child has Special Educational Needs or a Disability (SEND) and you are unhappy about the help they are getting RIASS can:

  • listen to your concerns
  • help you sort out the issues
  • identify other people who can support you
  • help you decide what to do next
  • explain the law and your rights.

When can I appeal?

You can bring an appeal to the SEND Tribunal if your local authority:

  • refuses to carry out an EHC Needs Assessment or a re-assessment
  • refuses to issue an EHC Plan
  • issues or amends an EHC Plan but you disagree with any or all of Section B (special educational needs), Section F (special educational provision) or Section I (placement)
  • decides not to amend an EHC Plan after an Annual Review
  • decides to cease to maintain the EHC Plan at any point.

You cannot appeal these sections of the EHC Plan.

  • section A – the views, wishes and aspirations of the child and his parents or the young person;
  • Section E – the outcomes to be sought; and
  • Section J – dealing with direct payments.

As part of a two-year national trial that began in April 2018, the tribunal powers have been extended to cover the health and social care sections of the EHC Plan as well.

For all appeals except to refusals to carry out an EHC Needs Assessment, the tribunal can recommend that health and/or social care needs and provision are included or amended in an EHC Plan. These recommendations are non-binding, but health or social care commissioners will have to respond in detail to the local authority and parents or young person setting out the steps they are going to take, or giving reasons why they have decided not to follow the tribunal recommendations.

When the results of the two-year trial have been evaluated, a decision will be made as to whether the new process should continue.

IPSEA have produced several useful guides for parents and carers going through the appeals process

What is Mediation?

Mediation is way of helping parents or young people resolve disagreements about EHC Needs Assessments and EHC Plans. A trained independent mediator will help each side express their views to reach an agreement. In some cases, mediation can help avoid the need to go to tribunal.

Parents and young people must consider mediation and contact the service used by the local authority before appealing to the SEND tribunal. Redbridge use Community Accord.  

You do not have to use a mediation service if the appeal is only about the name or type of school, college named on the EHC plan (Section I).

RIASS can help you prepare for an appeal and attend Mediation if required. We can also help you make sure that any ruling from SENDIST is actioned.

Mediation is free and voluntary.

IPSEA have produced many different model letters to help you with appeals and complaints that you can download and amend for your own purposes.

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