Mediation support and appeals

We are looking for parents and carers to take part in our online focus groups. Throughout January and February, we would like your views on your experience of the education health and care needs assessment information on our website.

Register your interest to take part in one of our virtual workshops.

We recognise you may not agree with the decisions we make about education health and care (EHC) plans. This can be the decision:

  • not to carry out an EHC needs assessment
  • not to draft an EHC plan following an assessment
  • to issue a final or amended plan where you are not happy with the contents of the EHC plan, the placement named or both
  • not to amend an EHC plan
  • to cease an EHC plan.

Once you have received the reasons for our decision, you can request a meeting with your local SEND named officer.

It is always better to talk to us first about the decisions we make, we will, if we can, try to resolve any differences. Speaking with us does not affect your right to mediation or appeal. When we make a decision we will always write to you to tell you when you have a right to appeal and how you can do this.

If your request for an EHC needs assessment has been turned down, any additional SEND support a child or young person needs should be available through their education setting. Other support may also be available to both your child and your family.

Or download IASK's easy read guide (PDF, 375.1 KB) to explain who you can talk to if you disagree with the decisions.

Mediation

Mediation is a meeting you can have with us to find a solution to your problems in an impartial and confidential environment. Contact the mediation adviser to arrange the mediation meeting, they will manage the discussion to help you and the people involved try to reach a resolution.

You must contact the mediation adviser before you can appeal our decision not to proceed with a needs assessment, to issue an EHC plan or the content of the EHC plan. This has to be within 2 months of receiving the decision letter you are unhappy about.

You do not have to consider mediation if you are only appealing the setting or type of setting named in the EHC plan.

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:

  • assessing your child’s needs
  • issuing an EHC plan
  • the content of your child’s EHC plan.

The SEND Tribunal makes its decisions after considering all of 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 legally binding. A SEND Tribunal 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 the appeal.

You can request that the SEND Tribunal makes recommendations about the health and social care needs and provision specified in your child's EHC plan. This gives you the opportunity to raise all your concerns about an EHC plan in one place. However, to request consideration for the health and social care aspects of your EHC plan:

  • you need to be already making an appeal in relation to the education aspects of the EHC plan
  • the education aspect must remain live throughout the appeal.

The SEND Tribunal may make recommendations for the health and social care aspects of the EHC plan. These are only recommendations so are not legally binding but if health or social care do not agree with the recommendations, they must give reasons why they are not going to carry them out. Read the full guidance following the outcome of the national trial, looking at the extended powers of the SEND Tribunal.

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

Further information and advice

For confidential and impartial information and advice, you can contact Information and Advice Service Kent (IASK) or your local SEND named officer.