The working document is an important part of a contents appeal. It is a Word version of the EHC plan which can be amended by both parties in the run up to the hearing.

You should be given a Word version of the final EHC Plan (if not, ask the LA to send you one). The SEND Tribunal directions will include a deadline for when the working document with both parties’ amendments needs to be submitted to the SEND Tribunal, although you can continue to negotiate it after that date.

It usually makes sense to wait until all of the evidence has been filed by both parties and then work through the evidence to see what amendments are needed.

Mark up your suggested amendments to the EHC plan on the working document using the recommended key (see below). The LA should then come back to you accepting anything that they agree with; they may also suggest other amendments. In this way the document will go back and forth between you and the LA before the hearing.

The reason for doing this is to try and narrow down the key issues which you and the LA disagree about. This will make the hearing more efficient.

Key for amendments

Normal type

Original EHC plan

Underlined type/ Underlined strikethrough

Amendments agreed by both parties

Bold type

Parents’ proposed amendments

Bold strikethrough

Parents’ proposed deletions

Italic type

LA’s proposed amendments

Italic strikethrough

LA’s proposed deletions


To work out what changes are needed, go through all the evidence making note of the special educational needs identified and special educational provision recommended. Make sure that all of this is in the EHC Plan, in the right sections, and that it is clear and specific.

Don’t copy chunks from professional reports unnecessarily; the SEND Tribunal has repeatedly expressed unhappiness with working documents (and EHC Plans) which are too long. Just quote or paraphrase the key points which show the relevant needs or provision.

If you are asking for a particular placement, think about how the child or young person’s needs and provision can show that this placement is needed. For example, if the parent or young person is looking for a waking day curriculum, then it needs to be clear from Section F that the child or young person needs educational programmes to meet their SEN outside of the normal school day.

If you are not able to reach agreement with the LA about the contents of the EHC plan, the case will proceed to a hearing. You can find more information on how a contents appeal hearing will work here.