After you send in your appeal form, the SEND Tribunal will register your appeal and will write to you and the local authority (LA) to tell you and the LA what steps needs to be taken and when by. At the same time, the SEND Tribunal will send to the LA a copy of your appeal documents.

The SEND Tribunal aims to reply within 10 working days (working days do not include Saturdays, Sundays, bank holidays, any day between 25 December to 1 January, or any day in August) of registering your appeal. This can take longer when the SEND Tribunal receives a high number of appeals around the same time.

In its registration letter, the SEND Tribunal will tell you about important dates. It will tell you when the LA are required to respond to your appeal, give you a deadline to send further evidence and tell you when the hearing date will be. 

  • It may be possible to seek a change to the hearing date. It’s not likely that a long delay will be in the interests of justice so the SEND Tribunal is unlikely to agree to this. 
  • Similarly, it may be possible in cases where a child or young person has been permanently excluded or it is a phase transfer to have the hearing date brought forward.
  • If you decide you want your appeal decided ‘on the papers’ and without a hearing on the basis that it might be quicker, you should contact the SEND Tribunal first to check if that would be the case.
  • A hearing date change is more likely to be agreed if you can show that it is in the interests of justice and the LA has agreed in advance.

You should read the registration letter very carefully and write down the important dates.

It will also set out other important information, such as the deadline for the sending out of the appeal bundle and the fact you have a right to request the appeal be actively case managed by a member of the judicial team.

Once the appeal has been registered, any further communications with the SEND Tribunal (whether this is a request for changes to the case or submitting further evidence) must also be sent to the LA at the same time.

On registration, you should also expect to receive a Case Review form and a copy of a Request for Changes form.

Case review forms

The SEND Tribunal has introduced a Case Review form to assist with case management. It’s to help the SEND Tribunal manage cases as efficiently as possible, by getting an update on the case and to see if there has been any progress on agreeing the disputed issues ahead of the hearing.

It will tell you if you need to use this form – if you do, you need to complete it by the bundle deadline.

You will also use it to update the SEND Tribunal and LA about who is attending the hearing (instead of an Attendance Form). This will be anyone from your side, including representatives or helpers and witnesses. The LA will need to do the same for its side. The SEND Tribunal does not like it when parties say that witnesses will ‘be confirmed’. You should confirm who will be coming otherwise the form may be returned to you.

If you are not sure if you need to use the form, check the letter and any directions you have received from the SEND Tribunal.

Request for Changes form

If you want to make changes to your appeal or to communicate with the SEND Tribunal during the appeal, then you should use the Request for Changes form. You can download it from the SEND Tribunal site.

It can be used as many times as needed during the process of appeal. You can use this form to, for example:

  • request that a deadline is extended
  • ask the SEND Tribunal to make an order
  • change any information you previously submitted (for example, if you want to bring another witness), or
  • ask the SEND Tribunal to make reasonable adjustments if you feel these are needed for you to participate in the appeal. You should explain what adjustments you need and why. Depending on your needs, they could range from being given extra time to ask and answer questions or locate documents, to having a face-to-face rather than virtual hearing.

If the Request for Change concerns widening the appeal, for example to include sections B and F of the EHC plan where you have only appealed against section I, you should give the LA plenty of warning of your intention and the request should explain the reasons for the changes.

Before submitting a Request for Change form you must seek the other party’s response and this should be included on the form. You do not need their agreement, but you must give them a chance to respond.

If the request is urgent, and you are still waiting for a response from the LA, you should make clear on the form that you have asked the LA for its views and include a copy of your email to the LA if possible.

For further information on this topic, see our main 'What happens after I submit my appeal?' page.