EHCP: Appeals and Mediation
You have the right to appeal to the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal (SENDIST).
However, we would hope to sort out any disagreements through discussions with you and your child’s school or college first.
Please contact your APO in the first instance, who will try and resolve any issues and address any of your concerns. You will find their direct telephone number on any of the letters you will have been sent.
Mediation is a confidential process designed to resolve disputes within the EHCP process using a neutral third party to facilitate an agreement. A mediator does not judge or impose a solution but helps both parties work towards a mutually satisfactory outcome.
Mediation can help you sort out disagreements without having to appeal. If you have mediation and you’re still not happy, you can still appeal.
If your appeal is about an EHC needs assessment or the education part of an EHC plan, you must get mediation advice. If you don’t want mediation, the mediation service will give you a certificate to give to the Tribunal when you lodge your appeal.
You don’t have to get mediation advice if your disagreement is just about:
- the education placement named in the EHC plan
- the Health or Care part of an EHC plan
Parents of children under 16, and young people aged 16 to 25, can ask for and take part in mediation.
The Children and Families Act 2014 requires all local authorities to provide independent mediation and disagreement resolution services to help when parents or young people cannot agree with the local authority or other providers about the special educational provision for a child or young person. East Sussex contracts a neutral organisation called Global Mediation to support this process
For more information, visit the Global Mediation website.
If mediation isn’t successful, or if you don’t want mediation, you can appeal to the SEN and Disability Tribunal (SENDIST). You must do this within 2 months of the date on your decision letter or a month from the date of the mediation certificate – whichever is later.
Parents of children under 16, and young people aged 16 to 25, can appeal for the following reasons:
- if we decide not to carry out an Education, Health and Care (EHC) needs assessment
- if we decide not to progress to an EHC plan
- if you are not happy with the final EHC plan, including Health and Social Care sections
- if you are not happy with the education placement named in the final EHC plan
- if we decide to cease to maintain an EHC plan
You can also ask the Tribunal to make recommendations about the Health or Care parts of the plan, as part of an appeal about the education parts. However, the Tribunal’s recommendations for Health or Social Care are not legally binding. If Social Care, or the Health Commissioner, do not follow the Tribunal’s Health or Social Care recommendations we must tell you why in writing.
A Tribunal Officer will be assigned to your appeal. If you need to discuss the appeal, you should contact the Tribunal Officer rather than your usual APO.
For more information, visit the SENDIST website.
Following an Appeal
If you are not happy with the outcome of the appeal, you can ask the Tribunal to reconsider their decision or seek the Tribunal’s permission to appeal to the Upper Tier Tribunal.
Additional Help and Support
Amaze SENDIASS (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Information Advice and Support Service) are a local charity who offer free, independent, and impartial advice for all matters relating to SEND. Contact Amaze SENDIASS:
East Sussex Local Offer directory of services
You can visit our SEND-specific online directory, hosted on East Sussex 1Space, that lists many different services both throughout the county and online. Services include advice, guidance and support groups, activities and events and mental health and wellbeing support among many other topics:
NHS - Health A to Z
While the East Sussex Local Offer aims to provide as much information as possible, there may be some conditions that aren't covered in thorough detail. The NHS website has pages that list all conditions, with information and advice on how to get extra support:
Glossary of East Sussex SEND Terms
Some of the terms used on this website are explained on our page, Glossary of East Sussex SEND Terms.
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