1. Overview

You can appeal to the First-tier Tribunal (Special Educational Needs and Disability) if you disagree with your local authority’s decisions about your child’s special educational needs - for example if they refuse to:

  • assess your child’s educational, health and care (EHC) needs
  • make a statement of their special educational needs
  • reassess their special educational needs
  • create an EHC plan
  • change the special educational needs statement or EHC plan
  • reject the special educational needs statement or stop the EHC plan

For someone under 18 and in custody, you can appeal if:

  • the council doesn’t make an EHC needs assessment
  • the council doesn’t think it’s an EHC plan is needed after an assessment
  • the school or other institution that they’ll attend once they’re released isn’t suitable

You can also appeal to the tribunal if a school or local authority has discriminated against your child or someone else because of your child’s disability, eg they haven’t provided support.

You must send your appeal within 2 months of the date of the council’s decision letter or 1 month from the date of the mediation certificate - whichever is later.

The tribunal is independent of government and will listen to both sides of the argument before making a decision.

The rules are different in Wales.

Who can appeal

You can appeal as either:

Help you can get

Before you appeal, see if you can discuss the problem with your local authority.

Check if you can get legal aid to help with your legal costs. You can get advice from Civil Legal Advice if you’re eligible.

You can also get free help and advice from IPSEA or your local parent partnership service. Contact the Information, Advice and Support Services Network for details of your nearest service.

Information, Advice and Support Services Network nppn@ncb.org.uk
Telephone: 020 7843 6958
Find out about call charges