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What if I disagree with a decision?

What if I disagree with a decision?

If you disagree with any decision about your child’s education it is always worth talking to the SEND team informally at first to discuss why you do not believe that the decision is correct. SENDIASS are happy to support you at these meetings. 

If this is not successful in helping everyone to reach agreement then you have the option to try more formal methods of disagreement resolution. 

Your right to appeal

You have the right to appeal to SENDISTT ((Special Educational Needs and Disability First-tier Tribunal.)

How long do I have to appeal?

Appeals must be registered within 2 months of the date of the decision letter, or within 30 days of the issue of a mediation certificate, whichever is the later.

Which decisions can be appealed? 

There is a right to appeal the following decisions at tribunal: 

  • Refusal to carry out an Education Health and Care Needs Assessment
  • Refusal to issue an EHC Plan following an assessment
  • Refusal to re-assess
  • Refusal to amend an EHC plan following a review or re-assessment
  • To cease to maintain an EHC Plan 


If a plan is issued you can appeal the following contents:

  • The child or young person’s special educational needs (Section B)
  • The child or young person’s special educational provision (Section F)
  • The school or other institution named in Section I
  • If no school or other institution is named in Section I 

Before you register an appeal there is a requirement to consider mediation in some cases. This doesn’t mean that you have to go through with mediation, but you must at least consider it as a possibility. This involves ringing the mediation company for a discussion, and then you can choose: 

  • Not to proceed with mediation and request that a mediation certificate is issued.
  • Proceed with mediation, in which case the mediation company will arrange a date within 30 days for mediation to take place. A mediation certificate will be issued at this time and you can still appeal to tribunal if mediation has failed to resolve the issues.


Often mediation can help to resolve the disagreements between the local authority and parents. If you do reach agreement then this will be recorded in writing and the Local Authority have 2 weeks to comply with the agreement. If they fail to comply with something that was agreed in mediation then they would be acting unlawfully. 

  • If a child is under compulsory school age, the parents
  • In the case of a young person (age 16-25) the young person, although they can request a parent (or representative) to act on their behalf
  • If a young person lacks capacity then appeals can be brought on their behalf by their parent or representative


Reasons for appeals and possible rulings:

  • Refusal to carry out an assessment. Possible rulings: Dismiss appeal, Order the Local Authority to assess
  • Refusal to reassess. Possible rulings: Dismiss appeal, Order the Local Authority to reassess
  • Refusal to issue a plan. Possible rulings: Order the Local Authority to issue and maintain a plan
  • Appeals about contents of plan, following assessment, re-assessment or annual review (Section B and F) or the placement named in I. Possible rulings: Any amendments will be considered based on the supporting evidence

What can’t the tribunal rule on?

The tribunal cannot make rulings on matters relating to Heath and Social Care (Sections C and D and G and H1/H2.)

However there is currently a national trial (until April 2020) during which time the tribunal can make recommendations on these matters.

SENDIASS can help you through all stages of the disagreement resolution process: 

  • Support you at informal meetings, mediation and at the tribunal hearing
  • Help you to complete the tribunal registration forms
  • Support you to understand what evidence you need and help you to gather that evidence together


More information about SENDIST and the appeal forms can be found on the Gov.uk website.