SEND tribunal appeals

Who and what can be appealed to the Tribunal?

Who can appeal to the Tribunal?

  • Parents of children (0 to the end of compulsory school age) and
  • Young people over compulsory school age (until they reach 25) where they have the mental capacity to make the decision or their representative/ parents where they lack capacity.

What can be appealed to the Tribunal?

The SEND Code of Practice says that parents and young people can appeal to the Tribunal about:

  • a decision by a local authority not to carry out an EHC needs assessment or re-assessment
  • a decision by a local authority that it is not necessary to issue an EHC plan following an assessment
  • the description of a child or young person’s SEN specified in an EHC plan, the special educational provision specified, the school or other institution or type of school or other institution (such as a mainstream school/college) specified in the plan or that no school or other institution is specified
  • an amendment to these elements of the EHC plan
  • a decision by a local authority not to amend an EHC plan following a review or re-assessment
  • a decision by a local authority to cease to maintain an EHC plan (11.45)

You can find out more about appeals to the Tribunal in the SEND Code of Practice sections 11.39 to 11.55.

As part of a national trial, from the 3rd April 2018 the powers of the First-tier SEND Tribunal have been extended to enable the Tribunal to make non-binding recommendations about health (section C and G) and social care (section D, H1 and H2) aspects of an EHC plan. This trial provides parents and young people with the opportunity to raise all their concerns about an EHC plan in one place.

Recommendations can only be made on Local Authority (LA) decisions and EHC plans issued/amended from the 3rd April 2018. The trial, which will run for 2 years aims to create a more holistic, person centred view of the child’s/young person’s needs and encourage joint working between education, health and social care commissioners. The new powers conferred on the Tribunal along with the associated duties on LA’s and health commissioning bodies are detailed in the Special Educational Needs and Disability (First-tier Tribunal Recommendations Power) Regulations 2017.

In practice this means that;

  • If the Tribunal orders an EHC plan to be made, it has the power to recommend that when drawing up the plan, health and/or social care needs and provision are specified.
  • Where health and/or social care needs or provision is not included in the EHC plan the Tribunal has the power to recommend it is specified in the plan.
  • Where health and/or social care needs or provision is included in the plan the Tribunal has the power to recommend that the need and provision is amended.

The Tribunal will only make recommendations about health and social care needs or provision which is related to a child or young person’s learning difficulties or disabilities, with the exception of any social care provision made under s.2 Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970.

Please note, that the Tribunal will only make recommendations about health and social care needs or provision if it is part of an appeal by a parent or young person relating to:

  • A decision by the LA not to issue an EHC plan
  • A decision by the LA not to carry out a re-assessment for a child/young person who has an EHC plan
  • A decision by the LA not to amend an EHC plan following review or re-assessment
  • A decision by the LA to cease to maintain an EHC plan
  • The description of the child/young person’s SEN in an EHC plan (Section B)
  • The special educational provision in an EHC plan (Section F)
  • The school or other educational institution named in an EHC plan (Section I)

You can find further information on this national trial in the SEND Tribunal: single route of redress national trial guidance.