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Information & advice

Appealing to the SEND Tribunal

The thought of having to appeal against a decision made in your EHC Plan by your Local Authority can seem daunting. This guide will take you through the process to help you understand what to expect.

Navigating the world of EHC plans (Educational Health and Care Plan) can be challenging when your child has Special Educational Needs or Disabilities (SEND).

So the thought of having to appeal against a decision made in your EHC plan by your Local Authority can seem daunting. This guide will support and advise you in your decision to appeal against any decision regarding your child’s SEN.

What is a SEND tribunal?

The SEND Tribunal is an independent national tribunal which hears appeals from parents and young people against a Local Authority’s decisions about the special educational needs of children and young people. Its formal name is The First-Tier Tribunal (Special Educational Needs and Disability) but it is often informally called the SEND Tribunal.

What does it do?

You can appeal to the SEND Tribunal if you’re unhappy with a decision made in relation to an EHC needs assessment or an EHC plan. The SEND Tribunal has the power to order Local Authorities to carry out EHC needs assessments, issue EHC plans, and amend existing EHC plans. Local Authorities must comply with orders made by the SEND Tribunal.

How to make an appeal

The steps below out line the process you go through when making an appeal to the Tribunal. Our in-depth guide, which you can download below, has more information on each step.

Appealing to the Tribunal itself is free. There are no fees for parents or young people to pay. But you may have some costs for things like photocopying documents or travel expenses if you decide to attend the Tribunal in person.

  • Step 1: Prepare your tribunal bundle – prepare the documents you would like to produce to support your case in advance.
  • Step 2: Getting support – you do not need a lawyer to appeal in a Send Tribunal. However, if you feel you need support you can contact your local SENDIASS.
  • Step 3: Appealing: completing the appeal form – you are required to send copies of all your supporting documents with the appeal form.
  • Step 4: After you send your appeal form – after you send your appeal form you should receive case directions, an attendance form and a case management questionnaire.
  • Step 5: The hearing – you are not required to attend the SEND Tribunal hearing however you may want to consider attending, as the panel will want to ask you relevant questions.
  • Step 6: After the hearing – you should receive the decision of the SEND Tribunal within 10 working days after the hearing.

More information

We have a range of further resources for you to download that may be useful.

In-depth guide

Our in-depth guide on Appealing to the SEND Tribunal takes you through every step of the process.

SEND Tribunal Infographic

A handy infographic summarising some key points about appealing to the Tribunal that you can download and print.