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SEND Tribunal process and procedure

Changes to the powers of the SEND Tribunal: Read about the National Trial extending powers of the Tribunal to make non-binding reccommendations about health and social care provision. 


Click here to see the tribunal process chart.

Under the Children and Families Act 2014 (section 55(3)) parents, carers and young people who wish to make an SEN appeal to the (First-Tier) Tribunal, regardless of whether it is in relation to education and social care issues (section 54) or limited to health care issues (section 53), may only do so after they have contacted an independent mediation advisor and obtained a certificate. 

Parents and young people can appeal to the Tribunal about:

  • A decision by the local authority not to carry out an EHC needs assessment or re-assessment
  • A decision by the local authority not to issue an EHC plan following an EHC assessment
  • The contents of the EHC plan concerning the child or young person’s special educational needs and provision, named educational establishment, or no school or other institution specified
  • Amendments made to the EHC elements of the plan
  • A decision made by the local authority not to amend the EHC plan following a review or re-assessment
  • A decision made by the local authority to cease to maintain the EHC plan

Parents and young people have two months to register an SEN appeal with the Tribunal from the date the local authority sent the notice containing a decision which can be appealed or one month from the date of certificate issues following mediation or receiving mediation advice.

Decisions made by parents and young people not to use disagreement resolution services or mediation will have no effect on their right to appeal to the Tribunal regarding the LA decisions made around the EHC plan.

The Tribunal has powers under the Children and Families Act 2014 to:

  • Dismiss appeals
  • Order the local authority to carry out an EHC assessment
  • Order the local authority to make or maintain an EHC plan
  • Amend or correct the existing EHC plan

In making decisions about the special educational provision specified in the EHC plan the Tribunal should take in to consideration the education and training outcomes specified in the EHC plan, and whether the educational provision will enable and empower the child/young person to progress towards achieving their aspired outcomes.

Please download the resource below for more information.

>> SEND complaints: A guide for young people in education [PDF] 1.9 Mb

Last Updated 13/11/2019

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