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Disagreement with a decision relating to EHC needs assessment or the contents of your Child’s EHCP

If you are not happy with a decision that has been made regarding an EHC needs assessment or the contents of an EHC Plan, there are several options open to you.

Firstly, do accept the invitation to speak with a member of the Local Authority SEND Team.  When any decision is made about an EHC needs assessment or an EHC Plan, you will be notified in writing.  The letter explaining the decision will contain details of who you can speak to within the SEND team.

You can contact them by emailing senteam@southend.gov.uk

You can ask for a meeting if you want to discuss the decision further. You can bring someone to support you; this may be a representative from your child’s setting, a professional supporting you or your child or a family member or friend.

You may also wish to contact The Southend SENDIASS Service.  They provide impartial information, advice and guidance on special educational needs and disabilities.  Their website includes a range of resources to help you and details of how to contact them for further information. https://www.sendiasssouthend.co.uk/

What if the issue is still not resolved?

In cases where issues cannot be resolved and agreement is not reached between you and the Local Authority, there are two other routes you may wish to consider mediation or appealing to the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Tribunal (SENDIST).

Mediation

The purpose of mediation is to consider whether this is a means of resolving your disagreement with the Local Authority. This service is independent of the Local Authority and free to access.  

When seeking mediation, an impartial person is appointed as mediator; they arrange a meeting with you and the Local Authority and helps to keep the meeting calm, productive, and focused on finding a solution to the issue you are raising. Mediation is a less formal way of working out a solution.

Your Local Authority will have sent you a letter to explain their decision, and this will tell you how to contact the mediation service provided by KIDS SEND Mediation and Disagreement Resolution 

For more information you can contact KIDS by calling 03330 062 835. (This is a local rate number) or email  mediationlondon@kids.org.uk. Website: www.kids.org.uk/send-mediation

In most cases, you must consider mediation before you appeal to SENDIST.  You can decline mediation, but you will still need to contact the mediation service to discuss this.   You may require a mediation certificate if you wish to appeal. 

Appeal

The Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Tribunal (SENDIST - also known as the First-Tier Tribunal) is the Government body that handles appeals from parents, carers or young people (over the age of 16 years) regarding special educational needs.

When can I appeal?

You can appeal local authority decisions, including a refusal to:

  • assess a child or young person’s educational, health and care (EHC) needs
  • reassess their EHC needs
  • issue an EHC plan
  • change what’s in a child or young person’s EHC plan
  • maintain the EHC plan

SENDIST are also able to make non-binding recommendations about health and social care issues in some appeals.

You can appeal if you have parental responsibility for the child or are their foster parent or carer. Your child must be under 16 years old.  If your child is over 16 years, they may be able to appeal on their behalf instead.

How do I appeal?

When any decision is made about a request for a statutory assessment or an EHC Plan, you will be notified in writing.  The letter explaining the decision will contain details of how you can appeal the decision.

You have two months from the date of the letter in which to lodge an appeal and for the Tribunal to receive your completed forms (including a mediation certificate where applicable).

If you need advice or guidance on the appeal process, how to complete the forms or any legal advice on the Tribunal proceedings, you can contact IPSEA:   Either visit their website for information or book an appointment to speak to a consultant https://www.ipsea.org.uk/contact-ipsea  or call them on 01799 582030 (Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm)

SENDIST can be contacted at the following address: HM Courts & Tribunals Service, Special Educational Needs & Disability Tribunal, 1st Floor, Darlington Magistrates’ Court, Parkgate, Darlington, DL1 1RU. Helpline Number: 01325 289 350, email: send@justice.gov.uk Website: http://www.justice.gov.uk/tribunals/send

 Last updated: 25 May 2022

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