If your child does not get a needs assessment or EHC plan

Most children and young people with additional needs don't need an education, health and care (EHC) needs assessment or an EHC plan. Pre-school settings, schools and colleges must put support in place to make sure children and young people with additional needs are learning and developing along with their peers. They will regularly evaluate the support to make sure it's working and helping your child to progress.

We'll give you our reasons for not agreeing to an EHC needs assessment in writing and you can request a meeting with your SEN named officer to discuss your options.

If we decide not to issue your child an EHC plan we'll give feedback collected during the process, including evidence from practitioners, that you, your child, the pre-school setting, school or college might find useful.

We recognise you may not agree with the decisions we make. If you don’t agree with, or don’t understand a decision we’ve made, speak to your SEN named officer as soon as you can. While we always try to resolve issues, speaking to one of the area teams does not affect your right to mediation or appeal. We will always write to you when you have a right to appeal and tell you how you can do this.

Even if your request for an EHC needs assessment has been turned down, any additional SEND support your child needs should be available to your child through their pre-school setting, school or college. Other support may also be available to both your child and your family.

Mediation

Mediation is a meeting you can have with us to find a solution to your problems in an impartial and confidential environment. An independent mediator manages the discussion to help you and the people involved try to reach a resolution.

Before you can appeal our decision or the content of the EHC plan you must contact the mediation adviser within 2 months of receiving the decision letter you are unhappy about.

You do not have to pursue mediation, you only have to consider it if you feel it would be helpful for you. If you do not wish to mediate, your right of appeal will not be affected but, you will still be required to obtain a mediation certificate before making certain appeals.

For more information about mediation visit the Global Mediation website.

Appeal

If you are unhappy with the decision we have made or the content of the EHC plan (Sections B, F and I) you have the right to appeal to the Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Tribunal.

The SEND Tribunal is an independent first-tier tribunal who hear and decide appeals against decisions we have made about your child’s EHC plan or our decision not to assess your child’s needs.

The SEND Tribunal makes its decisions after considering all the evidence. This includes documents, from both us and you, sent before the hearing as well as what is said at the hearing.

Once the decision is made, the SEND Tribunal will send out a decision notice and an Order which explains what must be done to carry out their decision, this is binding. A SEND decision can only be appealed on a Point of Law and permission must be given by the tribunal for either parents or a local authority to make an appeal.

You can appeal the health and social care needs and provision specified in the EHC plan as well as the education provision, but only if you are already making an appeal in relation to the education aspect of the EHC plan. Read the full guidance in the SEND Tribunal: single route of redress national trial document.

Get more information about the SEND Tribunal on the GOV.UK website. SEND Tribunal hearings for people living in Kent are usually heard in London.

Further information and advice

Please contact Information and Advice Service Kent (IASK) for confidential and impartial information and advice.

Or you can speak to your named area officer.