What is the deadline for registering an appeal?

The first thing to make a note of is the deadline for making an appeal.  When the LA made a decision (for example, to cease to maintain an EHC Plan or a refusal to carry out an EHC needs assessment) or issued a final Plan, they must also have notified you of your right of appeal.

The date of this notification is the date from which the time frame for making an appeal starts to run: you must send an appeal form to the SEND Tribunal within two months of the date of the decision you are appealing or the final EHC plan, or one month from the date you obtain a mediation certificate, whichever is the later.

Mark any deadlines on your calendar and in your diary. (If the two months/one month ends in August, then you have until the first working day in September to get the form to the SEND Tribunal.)

You should have been sent a letter from the local authority (“LA”) when they took the relevant decision or issued you with the final EHC plan. This letter should contain the following information on your rights of appeal:

  • your right to appeal that decision;
  • the time limits for doing so;
  • information about mediation;
  • the availability of—
    • disagreement resolution services; and
    • information and advice about matters relating to the special educational needs of children and young people. 

The SEND Tribunal may well extend the deadline if all this information was not provided and the deadline has passed.

If you have missed the deadline, you can ask the SEND Tribunal to accept your appeal late. If you need to do this we would recommend you seek advice first.

How do I register an appeal?

You will need to fill out various forms and send in supporting evidence to the SEND Tribunal. Remember to keep copies of all of your paperwork (letters, reports etc.), so you have a clear record of everything you’ve sent.

For more information on what to send with your appeal form see below.

You can submit your appeal either by email or by post. If you send it by post, we recommend that you send it by recorded delivery.

The appeal form

You will need to fill in an appeal form, which you can obtain from the SEND Tribunal’s website. Make sure you are using the right form depending on whether the appeal or claim concerns a child or a young person. We strongly recommend you read the booklet about ‘How to appeal’ which is also available on the site (SEND37 - at the end of the leaflet section).

If you are also bringing a claim about disability discrimination, there will be a separate form for each claim. The two claims can later be consolidated so that they are both dealt with at the same hearing.

In the boxes on the appeal form, fill in:

  • Your child’s name and date of birth, or yours if you are a young person;
  • Your name and address;
  • Details of anyone else who has parental responsibility, if possible; if you have a reason for not wishing to include this information, this must be stated (if you’re not sure about this or think this may be complicated, contact IPSEA for advice);
  • The name of your LA and the date of the decision you’re appealing against or the date of the final EHC plan;
  • Any special requirements to make the process accessible to you: say here if, for instance, you need documents translated, wheelchair access, a reader or a signer, or cannot manage negotiations over the phone.

In the appropriate section of the form, you will need to explain which decision you’re appealing against or which parts of the EHC plan you disagree with. This is called your reasons for appeal.

Reasons for appeal

It is often easier to put these on a separate sheet and write ‘See separate sheet headed Reasons for Appeal’ in the box on the form.

This is where you set out why you think the LA’s decision is wrong, or why the contents of the EHC plan need to change. Try to put in everything you need to say, your full case, at this point.

As much as possible, you should try to get together any supporting evidence to submit with your appeal form. In your reasons for appeal, you should refer to this evidence to support your arguments (for example, if you are saying that your child has not made progress despite the support they currently receive, refer to school reports and/or annual review records which show this). Don’t worry if you don’t have everything ready to send straight away; you can submit more evidence after you’ve registered your appeal.

You must send in enough information for the LA to be able to respond. 

DO

  • Keep it short and to the point.
  • Separate your points into paragraphs.
  • Number your paragraphs or organise them under headings.
  • Refer to any evidence that backs up your points. (You can send more evidence later and you should say if you know there is evidence you don’t yet have but intend to send later.)
  • Refer to the legal issues.

DON’T

  • Get bogged down on history. If there is a long history of difficulties between you and the LA let the evidence (e.g. letters between you and the LA) speak for itself.

What should I send with the form?

With the completed and signed form send the SEND Tribunal the following:

  • A copy of the letter the LA sent you that told you of its decision
  • Your mediation certificate
  • The evidence supporting your arguments
  • A list of all the documents enclosed with the application (it will be helpful to the SEND Tribunal if you put your evidence in chronological order, and then write out a list explaining what each document is).

Don’t send original documents, send photocopies or scans. Keep a copy of everything you send, including the form.

We have set out more detailed guidance on how to set out your reasons for appeal, what you should send with your appeal, and what evidence will be helpful, in the sections about refusal to assess appeals and appeals about the contents of an EHC plan.

If you can’t find the answer to your question, you can book an appointment to speak with us.