Children and young people with special educational needs must, by law, be provided with the right support. Some of them may have been issued with Statements of Special Educational Needs (SEN) that describe the support to which they are entitled, or they may have had separate assessments, which outline individual learning or physical disabilities.
Since 2014 and the creation of The Children and Families Act, there has been a new assessment process for young people from 0 to 25 years old. It led to a single, integrated care plan known as the Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP). An EHCP is a legal agreement between the child and the Local Authority that sets out a detailed and precise description of exactly what your child needs and the provision that is required to have those needs met.
The Local Authority must respond to the request of the assessment, deciding whether to carry out an assessment within 6 weeks of the request, and the entire process should take no more than 20 weeks from that request date.
If the Local Authority eventually decides not to conduct an assessment or decides not to issue an EHCP, the parent has the right to appeal to the First Tier Tribunal (Special Educational Needs and Disability) (SEND).
Launching an appeal to SEND
Parents have two months from the date of the Local Authority's decision, to launch an appeal to SEND and should consider obtaining a mediation certificate within that timeframe unless an exception applies.
SEND is a dedicated forum which looks at the following grounds for appeal:
- the refusal of a Local Authority to carry out an EHC needs assessment
- the refusal of a Local Authority to issue an EHCP
- the refusal of a Local Authority to reassess any child or young person
- the specific description of the special educational needs of any child or young person
- the specific provisions laid out for the child or young person
- the school that is nominated in the EHCP
- any decision to bring an EHCP to an end
- a decision to refuse to amend an EHCP after an Annual Review
How can Match Solicitors help with your appeal?
Match Solicitors have a highly experienced team who are experts in guiding and assisting young people and parents of children with special educational needs. Our success rate is unparalleled and we pride ourselves on bringing cases to a resolution that is agreeable to both sides.
Throughout the process, we can assist in the following ways:
- instruct independent experts and specialist barristers
- draft key documents
- prepare cases all the way through to a full hearing
- provide specialist advice that results in negotiations that ultimately lead to a settlement
- challenge Local Authorities, compelling them to make provision for children according to their specific needs, even if that means paying for specialist residential schools
Whatever your reasons for wishing to launch a SEND appeal, it is in your own best interests to make sure that you are fully prepared, and Match Solicitors can help in this respect. Give us a call today to discuss the details of your case in complete confidence.