Persuading your local authority (LA) to undertake an assessment is only the first step in the often lengthy process of acquiring an Education, Health and Care Plan for your child with special education needs. Even if this request is accepted, there is no guarantee that a plan of any kind will be issued for the child.
Obviously, this can leave parents and families feeling frustrated and aggrieved after waiting such a long time only to be rejected.
However, parents and families do have the right to appeal against this decision through a process of mediation and, if required, via SENDIST.
The first step to this appeals process is to try to resolve this issue through mediation with the local authority who rendered their decision of refusal.
If the process of mediation fails to resolve the issue, parents and guardians are advised to submit an appeal to the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal (SENDIST).
This lengthy process requires parents to provide SENDIST with information and evidence in their favour, detailing the special education needs of their child along with any other supporting documents/testimonies.
The SENDIST will also seek to obtain information independently, on a case-by-case basis, in order to reach a fair judgment.
Timeframe for appeals
An appeal can only be brought to SENDIST after a mediation certificate has been obtained which states that you have completed the process of mediation with the local authority without reaching a successful conclusion.
Parents are advised to start the process of mediation as soon as possible after the decision letter has been received. SENDIST appeals need to be started within a fixed time period of receiving the original decision.