IPSEA was originally a support service for parents – hence our name, Independent Parental Special Education Advice. The Children and Families Act 2014 created the category of ‘young people’ – those aged 16-25 – who exercise their own rights, rather than their parents exercising those rights for them.

You may be contacted by a parent who is supporting their young person with an appeal. This is fine – many young people might find (for example) amending a working document too complicated, and so they’re happy for their parent to help them with this. This was confirmed in Buckinghamshire County Council v SJ [2016] UKUT 254 (AAC). You just need to be clear that the young person is the one who should ultimately make the decisions.

If you get a call from a young person, then IPSEA’s position is that although we don’t directly market to young people, we would never turn away a young person who contacted us.

If you believe the young person would benefit from an advocate or a supporter they can meet with face-to-face, their local IASS service may be able to help.

If a young person does not have the mental capacity to make decisions in relation to their education and/or their appeal, then their parent can bring the appeal instead. For more information see the section on mental capacity.