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National SEN & Disability Legal Practice

Appeals to SENDIST

There are a number of different Appeals which can be heard by the Special Educational Needs & Disability Tribunal, also referred to as SENDIST. These are:

Appeals Against an LA Decision not to undertake a Statutory Assessment:

We can help to reverse a Local Authority’s decision not to undertake a statutory Assessment through an appeal to SENDIST. Quite often the reasons given by Local Authorities represent a failure to look at the evidence properly and can be successfully challenged. An appeal to SENDIST is often a far quicker way of dealing a refusal to assess than repeat applications to the Authority.

Appeals Against Statement/EHC Plans:

An appeal to the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal can be made in relation to parts 2, 3 and 4 of the Statement of Special Educational Needs (whilst these continue to exist) and Sections B (the child or young person’s special educational needs), Section F (the special educational provision required by the child or young person) and Section I (Placement). Previous case law continues to apply to EHC Plans, although the definition of educational provision has been extended for the purpose of EHC Plans to include not only therapies (as now) but also training. An appeal to the SEND Tribunal usually takes four to five months, although the SEND Tribunal does prioritise and provide a shortened timeframe for cases in which the child or young person is due to move school or to an FE institution at the end of the current academic year.  These cases have a shorter timeframe, which means that advance preparation for an appeal in terms of the instruction of suitable experts is advisable.  This is because good experts have very long waiting lists, and it can be very difficult if not impossible to obtain suitable expert reports, if the instruction of experts is left until an appeal is under way. Parents have the right of appeal to SENDIST up to the age of 18.  Young people can run their own appeals to SENDIST from the age of 16.  However where a young person lacks capacity post-18, the parent can continue to run the appeal.

Appeals Against LA Decision to Cease to Maintain:

It is possible to appeal to the SEND Tribunal if your Local Authority cease to maintain your Statement or cease to maintain your EHC Plan. The expectation is that all children and young people who would have continued with the Statement, will transfer to a EHC Plan (Para 2.3 Statutory Guidance August 2014) because the legal test for a Statement and an EHC Plan are the same. The test is a Statement or ECH Plan “necessary?” If it is, then you appeal against that decision to Cease to Maintain.

Disability Discrimination Claims against Schools

SENDIST is also able to hear Disability Discrimination Claims, but only when those claims are  against Local Authority Maintained Schools, Academies and Independent Schools. Disability Discrimination claims relating to other organisations are heard by the County Court. For information on how we are able to assist with these please visit our Disability Discrimination page.  

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