Support for special education needs

Appealing against decisions

If you have concerns about support for your child's special educational needs, both the school and our named officer will work to with you and your independent parental supporter to resolve them.

What you can appeal

Sometimes parents don't agree with us. You can appeal:

  • our decision not to issue an education, health and care plan (EHCP)
  • our description of your child's special education needs in an EHCP
  • the special education provision that we put in an EHCP
  • the school or other education setting that's named in an EHCP
  • our decision not to a re-assess a child/young person who has an EHCP
  • our decision not to amend an EHCP following a review or re-assessment
  • our decision to end the EHCP

You can also appeal if we:

  • refuse to change the school named in your child's EHCP if the EHCP is at least 1 year old
  • refuse to reassess your child's special education needs
  • have not made a new assessment for at least 6 months

As part of a 2-year government trial, you can now ask for recommendations to be made about the health and social care content of the EHCP when you appeal about any of the points above.

When we tell you about a decision we will let you know your right of appeal and how to go about it.

How to make an appeal

Appeals must be made to an independent body called the First-tier Tribunal (Special Educational Needs and Disability).

Before going to appeal you must contact a mediation adviser within 2 months of our decision. This is to find out whether mediation might be a way to resolve your disagreement – you don't have to do this if you only want to appeal about the school or other education setting named in the EHCP.

Once you have contacted a mediation adviser, or have taken part in mediation, you will be issued with a certificate. You will need this if you wish to go ahead with an appeal to the Tribunal.

An appeal to the Tribunal must usually be made within 2 months of our decision, or within 1 month of the mediation certificate being issued, whichever is the later.

Tribunal recommendations about health or social care parts of an EHCP are "non-binding", which means that whilst we generally follow the recommendations, it's not required by law. Any decision we make will be explained to you in writing.

If we don't follow recommendations, you can complain to the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman (LGSCO) or Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) or seek to have the decision judicially reviewed.