If you disagree with any decisions made by the local authority regarding your child's or your own Education, Health and Care Plan please do not hesitate to contact the 0-25 SEND Team on 01752 307409 or senadmin@plymouth.gov.uk.

If you disagree with any decisions made by the local authority regarding your child's or your own Education, Health and Care Plan, you can also speak to an independent supporter by contacting Plymouth Information Advice and Support for SEND (PIAS).  They provide information, advice and support relating to Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) for parents, carers, children and young people within the Plymouth Local Authority area and would be able to support you if you are considering Mediation and Rights of Appeal.  All of the information they provide is impartial and confidential and can be contacted on 01752 258933 or 0800 9531131.

If you have a disagreement with any decision made by the local authority regarding your child's or your own Education, Health and Care Plan, you also have a right to go to Mediation and Tribunal.  

Mediation

Mediation is a voluntary process for parents and young people, which can be used if an agreement cannot be reached about matters related to EHC plans. It is provided by a trained and accredited mediator who is independent of the local authority and Clinical Commissioning Group.

Mediation is available to parents or young people if there is a disagreement about the local authority's decision:

  • not to carry out an EHC needs assessment or re-assessment
  • not to issue an Education, Health and Care Plan after an EHC needs assessment has been done
  • not to amend and Education, Health and Care Plan after an annual review or re-assessment
  • to cease to maintain an Education, Health and Care Plan 

Mediation must also be available if parents or young people disagree with:

  • the parts of the Education, Health and Care Plan that describe the child or young person's special educational needs
  • the special educational provision set out in the Education, Health and Care Plan
  • the health and social care elements of an Education, Health and Care Plan

A request for mediation must be made within 2 months of the date of the decision notice by the local authority. 

Parents and young people can also register an appeal to the SEND Tribunal about the matters listed above. This is an independent first-tier tribunal who hear and decide parent's or young people's appeals against the decisions of the local authority in relation to special educational needs. 

In order to register an appeal, you must first contact an independent mediation adviser and obtain a certificate to show that you have done so. The mediation adviser will provide you with factual information, explain what is involved and answer any questions you may have about mediation. 

Once you have contacted the mediation adviser you can choose whether you wish to go to mediation or not. You will need a certificate from the mediation adviser before you can register your appeal with the SEND Tribunal. 

Global Mediation's Mediation Adviser can be contacted on 0800 064 4488. This service is free of charge and your conversation is confidential. 

There are some circumstances in which you do not need to have a certificate from a mediation adviser before you register an appeal with the SEND Tribunal. This is the case if the appeal is solely about the name of the school, college or other institution named on the Education, Health and Care Plan, the type of school, college or other institution specified in the plan or the fact that no school or other institution is named. If you wish to seek advice about the health and social care elements of an Education, Health and Care Plan please refer to the new rights referred to in the enclosed national trial leaflet. 

If you are unsure whether these exceptions apply you can contact Plymouth Information Advice and Support for SEND (PIAS) or Global Mediation for more information and advice. 

If you decide to go to mediation, Global Mediation will make all the arrangements for you. The mediation will take place within 30 days and will be at a time and place that is convenient for you. 

To discuss or request mediation advice and meditation please contact Global Mediation on 0800 064 4488 or email sen@globalmediation.co.uk.  You can find out more about the service at www.globalmediation.co.uk/our-services/education/special-education-needs

Registering an appeal with the Tribunal

The Tribunal hears appeals against decisions made by local authorities in England in relation to children's and young people's EHC needs assessments and Education, Health and Care Plan.  Parents (in relation to children from 0 to the end of compulsory schooling) and young people (over compulsory school age until they reach age 25) can appeal to the Tribunal, following contact with a mediation adviser in most cases (see above for details). 

Parents and young people can appeal to the Tribunal about: 

  • a decision by a local authority not to carry out an EHC needs assessment or re-assessment
  • a decision by a local authority that it is not necessary to issue an Education, Health and Care Plan following an assessment
  • the description of a child or young person's SEN specified in an Education, Health and Care Plan, the special educational provision specified, the school or other institution or type of school or other institution (such as a mainstream school/college) specified in the plan or that no school or other institution is specified
  • an amendment to these elements of the Education, Health and Care Plan
  • a decision by a local authority not to amend an Education, Health and Care Plan following a review or re-assessment 
  • a decision by a local authority to cease to maintain an Education, Health and Care Plan 

The Tribunal does not hear appeals about Personal Budgets but will hear appeals about the special educational provision to which a Personal Budget may apply. 

Parents and young people who are unhappy with decisions about the health and social care elements of an Education, Health and Care Plan can go to mediation.  They can also complain through the health and social care complaints procedures. 

The following conditions apply to appeals: 

  • the parent or young person can appeal to the Tribunal when the Education, Health and Care Plan is initially finalised, following an amendment or a replacement of the plan
  • appeals must be registered with the Tribunal within two months of the local authority sending a notice to the parent or young person of the decision about one of the matters that can be appealed to the Tribunal or within one month of a certificate being issued following mediation or the parent or young person being given mediation information
  • the right to appeal a refusal of an EHC needs assessment will be triggered only where the local authority has not carried out an assessment in the previous six months
  • when the parent or young person is appealing about a decision to cease to maintain the Education, Health and Care Plan the local authority has to maintain the plan until the Tribunal's decision is made 

You can obtain information the Tribunal Service from the SEND website: www.justice.gov.uk/tribunals/send

More information

  • Plymouth Information advice and support for SEND (PIAS) 
    Provides free, impartial advice about the law on SEN, local SEN arrangements and support, the trial and your rights.  It can provide support with managing appeals, including support with preparing cases and attendance at hearings.
  • Tribunals - GOV.UK
    Includes advice on making SEND appeals to the Tribunal and links to the appeal form.

 


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This page was last updated on 06 December 2019