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SEND Local Offer for Coventry - Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP) - Resolving Disagreements

Appealing Local Authority decisions

If the decision is made to carry out an assessment, an SEN Education Officer will take you through the rest of the process. If the decision is not to carry out an assessment, you and the school will be given the reasons in writing including your rights of appeal and the time limits for appealing. The routes of appeal are:

  • disagreement resolution or mediation, and
  • tribunal – the First-tier Tribunal SEND (The SEND Tribunal)

What if I don't agree with what the LA is saying?

When disagreements arise between parents, carers or families and local authorities or schools about an aspect of a child or young person’s education they can be difficult to resolve.

Local authorities are required to provide parents, carers and families with an independent way of addressing any such disagreement. Mediation is a positive way of resolving conflict and can help to avoid the traditional adversarial approach to disagreement resolution without affecting other rights of appeal. It can work within or alongside the time frame for the SEND first-tier tribunal. You should first speak to your SEN Officer to see if the disagreement can be resolved locally. If we cannot come to an agreement, there are other options open to you.

These are:

Disagreement Resolution

Disagreement Resolution helps resolve disputes between parents and the Local Authority about the education of children and young people with special educational needs. 

Mediation

Mediation is a way of helping families where relationships have broken down to reach agreement about the future. It can be an alternative to tribunal appeals or work alongside them. Mediation provides a safe, neutral place where parties can talk through difficult and sometimes distressing issues with the support of a skilled professional family mediator who will not take sides or make judgements. It aims to improve communication, reduce stress and enable families to move forward into the future.

The SEND Tribunal 

The Tribunal hears appeal against decisions made by Local Authorities in relation to children and young people’s EHC Needs Assessments and EHC Plans.

Where parents disagree with the decisions of the Local Authority (LA), they have the right to appeal to the SEN and Disability Tribunal, which is an independent body.

Parents can appeal in the following circumstances:

  • If the parents request the LA to carry out a formal assessment of the child’s Education, Health & Care (EHC) needs, but the LA refuses 
  • If the LA refuses to issue an EHC Plan following an assessment 
  • If the parents disagree with parts of the EHC Plan 
  • If the LA refuses to change the school named in Section I of the Plan 
  • If the LA refuses to re-assess a pupil 
  • If the LA decides to no longer maintain an EHC Plan 
  • If the LA does not amend the Plan after re-assessment 

The LA will keep parents informed about their right of appeal during the assessment process.

Single Route of Redress - National Trial

The Government are extending the powers of the First-tier Tribunal (SEND), sometimes referred to as the ‘SEND Tribunal’, to make non-binding recommendations about the health and social care aspects of Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plans as part of a two-year trial. The trial will apply to decisions made or EHC Plans issued/amended from 3 April 2018. 

To date, you have only been able to appeal the educational aspects of EHC plans.  The trial gives you new rights to request recommendations about the health and social care needs and provision specified in EHC Plans, in addition to the educational aspects, when making a SEND appeal.  This gives you the opportunity to raise all your concerns about an EHC plan in one place.

It is only possible for the Tribunal to consider the health and/or social care aspects of the EHC plan where you are already making an appeal in relation to the education aspects of the EHC plan and the education aspect must remain live throughout the appeal.

For more information, please visit the SENDIASS Single Route of Redress webpage 

Disagreement resolution process

  1. We understand that for some families going through the Education, Health and Care Needs assessment process can be a difficult time. We endeavour to work together with you during this process. If during this process you feel unhappy with the following Local Authority decisions; refusal to assess, refusal to issue an EHCP following assessment, the content of EHCP or the setting named in ‘Section I’ we can arrange to meet informally to try and resolve any disagreements. We want to listen to your concerns and work with you to an amicable resolution.
  2. Contact the Statutory Assessment and Reviewing Service. We can schedule a meeting or talk over the phone to go through your concerns. Call us on 024 7683 1614 or email us at [email protected]. You can also access impartial advice and information from: SEND Information and Support Service on 024 7669 4307.
  3. If this did not resolve your concerns you can contact mediation services. This is a free service.
  4. If you are still unable to reach agreement about the EHC Plan, or after contacting a mediator you have the option to register an appeal to the Tribunal.
    HM Courts and Tribunals Service
    Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal
    1st Floor, Darlington Magistrates Court,
    Parkgate, Darlington DL1 1RU
    Telephone: 01325 289350
    E-mail: [email protected]
    Justice Department SEND Tribunals Website

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