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SEND Tribunal

If you are unhappy with a decision not to issue an EHC plan, or with the special educational content or placement in the plan, you can make an appeal to the SEND Tribunal.

As part of a two-year trial from 3 April 2018 to August 2020, the Tribunal can now make recommendations about the health and social care aspects of EHC plans, in addition to the educational aspects, when making a SEND appeal. First-tier Tribunal (Special Educational Needs and Disability) are responsible for handling appeals against council decisions regarding special educational needs, including a refusal to:

  • assess a child's educational, health and care (EHC) needs
  • make a statement of their special educational needs
  • reassess their special educational needs
  • create an EHC plan
  • change what's in a child's special educational needs statement or EHC plan
  • maintain the statement or EHC plan

They also handle appeals against decisions to refuse people under 18 in custody:

  • an EHC assessment
  • an EHC plan after assessment
  • a placement to a suitable school or other institution after their release

They also handle appeals against discrimination by schools or councils due to a child's disability.

Help you can get

Check if you can get legal aid.

You can also get free help and advice from:

Who can appeal

You can appeal as either:

  • the parent/carer
  • the young person, if you've finished year 11 and you're under 25

How to appeal

You must consider mediation before you appeal to the tribunal

Mediation is a less formal way of working out a solution to your problem.

We will have sent you a letter giving our decision about the education, health and care (EHC) plan. The letter will tell you how to contact a mediation service. See our mediation page for more information.

You must contact a mediation adviser within two months of the decision that you wish to appeal and consider whether mediation might be a way to resolve your disagreement. If you want to appeal only about the school or other institution named in the EHC plan you do not have to contact a mediation adviser. 

Once a mediation adviser has been contacted, or once you have taken part in mediation, you will be issued with a certificate. This will be necessary if you are still unhappy and wish to progress to an appeal with the Tribunal. An appeal to the Tribunal must usually be made within two months of the decision about which the appeal is being made or one month following the issuing of the mediation certificate, whichever is the latter.

If you do not want mediation

If you do not want mediation, you still need to contact the mediation service to get a mediation certificate so that you can appeal.

    Find out more about the SEND tribunal