What to do if you do not agree with decisions about SEN Provision

Firstly, talk to the school

If you are not happy about the help that your child has at school the first step is to talk to their teacher, or to the Special Educational Needs Coordinator or the headteacher.

If you think the school is doing all it can but your child needs even more help, you can ask the local authority for an Education, Health and Care (EHC) needs assessment.

If your child has an EHC plan you can also contact the Special Educational Needs Team of the Council.

The Special Educational Needs and Disability, Information, Advice Support Service (SENDIASS) can help you prepare for and attend a meeting.

What next?

If you still have a problem you might be able to:

  • seek some help to put your concerns forward
  • make a complaint
  • ask for independent disagreement resolution or mediation
  • appeal against a decision.

SENDIASS can tell you more about each of these and help you decide what to do.

Seeking help

It might be helpful to ask a friend or relative to attend a meeting with you. It is a good idea to keep notes or have records of what the school has done and has told you.

SENDIASS can give you impartial information and advice about possible ways forward. Read further information on the SENDIASS website.

If you think that the school, college or Local Authority could do more, you can complain using their complaints procedure. They will send you a form if you ask for it. You will usually need to:

  • have tried to resolve your complaint by speaking to the right people
  • put your complaint in writing, using the word ‘complaint’
  • be clear about all the issues you want resolved
  • state what you want to happen
  • give a reasonable time by which you would like a response.

If you are not happy with the outcome of making a complaint or feel that it has not been dealt with properly SENDIASS can give you information on what to do next.

You can find out more about complaints procedures in the SEND Code of Practice sections 11.2 and 11.67 to 11.111.

If you want help to understand the different procedures, or advice on which to use, please contact SENDIASS.

Further information is available in the SENDIASS booklet –  What to do if you do not agree with  decisions about SEND provision [PDF, 913Kb].

Many disagreements can be sorted out by talking with the school, college, local authority, or, for health services, the Clinical Commissioning Group.

Sometimes it can be difficult to reach agreement. SENDIASS can help you by providing impartial information, advice and support.

In North Lincolnshire disagreement resolution is provided by Community Accord. Community Accord is an independent service that will provide a trained mediator to facilitate a discussion. The purpose is to look for a way forward that all the parties accept. The service is free and confidential and you can choose whether to use it.

The disagreement resolution service is there to help resolve three kinds of disagreements between parents or young people and the
organisations that are responsible for making provision for children and young people with special educational needs. These are about:

  • how early years providers, schools and further education institutions carry out their duties for children and young people with SEN. For local authorities this includes keeping education and care provision under review, assessing needs and drawing up Education, Health and Care plans. For governing bodies and proprietors of schools it includes using their “best endeavours” to meet children and young people’s SEN.
  • the special educational provision made for a child or young person by early years providers, schools or further education institutions. This includes children and young people receiving SEN support and those with EHC plans.
  • health or social care provision when this part of an EHC needs assessment, while EHC plans are being drawn up, reviewed or when children or young people are being reassessed.

Disagreement resolution services can also be used:

  • during EHC needs assessments
  • while EHC plans are drawn up
  • while waiting for Tribunal appeals
  • at review
  • during reassessments.

 

SENDIASS or Community Accord can help you decide if independent disagreement resolution is the right way forward. You can find out more about disagreement resolution services in the SEND Code of Practice sections 11.6 to 11.10.

Mediation is a type of disagreement resolution for disagreements that can be appealed to the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal. The service is free and confidential.

If you wish to register an appeal with the First Tier Tribunal (SEN and disability) you first have to consider whether to enter mediation and obtain a certificate saying you have considered it. This is called mediation advice. If you decide not to go into mediation and tell the mediation adviser, they will send you a certificate within 3 working days and you can then register your appeal. You do not have to go
into mediation if you do not want to – you only have to consider whether to or not.

Your local authority must tell you about mediation and who to contact for the initial advice when they send you their decision. You must contact the mediation adviser within two months of getting the decision. Your time limit for appealing to the Tribunal is two months from the date of that decision, or one month from the date of the mediation certificate, whichever is the later.

There is one exception to this rule. You can register an appeal without considering mediation first if the appeal is only about the name of the
school, or college, named on the plan, the type of school or college specified in the plan or the fact that no school or other institution is named.

If you choose mediation the local authority (or Clinical Commissioning Group) must take part. The meeting will be arranged within 30 days.
An independent mediator runs the meeting. When the meeting has finished the mediator issues you with a certificate within 3 working days. You need this certificate if you still want to register an appeal with the First Tier Tribunal. Your time limit for appealing to the Tribunal is two months from the date of the decision you disagree with, or one month from the date of the mediation certificate, whichever is the later.

Mediators must be trained and accredited and are independent of the local authority and Clinical Commissioning Group.

If you go over the two month deadline for considering mediation, or want to appeal without a certificate, the law says you can still approach the Tribunal to see if you can register your appeal.

SENDIASS or Community Accord can help you decide if mediation is the right way forward.

You can find out more about mediation in the SEND Code of Practice sections 11.13 to 11.38.

The SEND Code of Practice says that 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 EHC plan following an assessment
  • the description of a child or young person’s SEN specified in an EHC 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 EHC plan
  • a decision by a local authority not to amend an EHC plan following a review or re-assessment
  • a decision by a local authority to cease to maintain an EHC plan. (11.45).

You can find out more about appeals to the Tribunal in the SEND Code of Practice sections 11.39 to 11.55.

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Further Information

Contact Us

SENDIASS
Church Square House
30-40 High Street
Scunthorpe
North Lincolnshire
DN15 6NL

Website: www.nlsendiass.org.uk

Email: help@nlsendiass.org.uk

Tel: 01724 277665 (direct line/24 hour answer phone)

Opening hours
Monday to Thursday: 9am to 4.30pm
Friday: 9am to 4pm

(Please note: SENDIASS will try to respond to enquiries within three working days)

Special Educational Needs Team

Tel: 01724 297148

Email: special.needssection@northlincs.gov.uk

SENDIASS

Community Accord
Tel: 01274 223313
Email: info@communityaccord.com
Web: www.communityaccord.com

Last modified: March 11, 2024