Education, health and care (EHC) plans - unhappy with our decision?

How to appeal to the SEND independent tribunal

You have a right to appeal if you disagree with the council's decision of whether you or your child has an Educational, Health and Care (EHC) assessment or Plan, or the contents of the EHC Plan.

If following mediation, you and the council still cannot agree on a decision - or you have decided against using the mediation service - you can appeal to the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal.

About the tribunal

The Tribunal is an independent body that hears parents and young people’s appeals against the decisions made by local authorities on statutory assessments or the special educational needs provision in an EHC Plan. The Tribunal process is aimed to be user-friendly so that the parents, carer or young person should not need to have legal representation.

You will normally have to appeal to the tribunal within two months of getting the council's decision letter.

What you can appeal to the first-tier tribunal about

Parents and young people can appeal to the first-tier tribunal about:

  • A decision by the local authority not to conduct an EHC needs assessment or re-assessment
  • A decision by the local authority not to issue an EHC plan after an assessment
  • The description of the child or young person's SEN, specified required services, and the specified education institution or lack thereof, in the EHC plan, and any amendments to these elements of the plan
  • A decision by the local authority not to amend an EHC plan following a review or re-assessment
  • A decision by the local authority to cease to maintain an EHC plan
  • Disagreement over the name of the school, or other educational establishment, named in the plan
  • Disagreement over the type of school, or other educational establishment, named in the plan
  • If no school or other educational establishment has been named in the plan
  • Disagreement in relation to the child or young person's special educational needs set out in the plan

The Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal does not hear appeals about the following sections of an EHC plan, Section A, Section E, Section J, or Section K.  Under the single route of redress the tribunal can be asked to make non-binding recommendations about the health and social care elements of an EHC plan, if lodged under the single route of redress route.

How to appeal

To appeal, you will have to apply to the HM Courts and Tribunals Service.

The form you need to send depends on what you’re appealing.

You must send your appeal within two months of the date on your decision letter or a month from the date of the mediation certificate - whichever is later.

You’ll usually find out when your hearing is 10 working days after you appeal.

Special educational needs (SEN) appeals

If you are appealing a decision not to carry out an EHC needs assessment, the form required is SEND35a (www.gov.uk) 

If you are appealing a decision not to issue an EHC plan following an assessment, cease to maintain, or contents appeals, the form required is SEND35 (www.gov.uk)

If you are a young person who is appealing, you must be have finished year 11 and be under 25 to apply.

You can include details of up to three witnesses who you’d like to bring to the hearing.

Disability discrimination

You can appeal to the tribunal if the council has discriminated against your child or someone else because of your child’s disability.

You must download and fill in form SEND4A (www.gov.uk).

You can include details of up to five witnesses who you’d like to bring to the hearing.

How to contact the tribunal

You can contact the Tribunal office by visiting the government’s GOV.UK website, by e-mailing send@Justice.gov.uk , or by calling 01325 289350.

Before registering an appeal, parents, carers and young people must consider mediation and must obtain a certificate from a mediation advisor before lodging an appeal. Find out more about mediation solutions.

Further information

To find out more, visit the Appeal to the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal page  - GOV.UK