Special education needs and disability appeal

Guidance for parents/young people when considering raising concerns about SEND

First Tier SEND Tribunal

You can appeal a case at tribunal when you want to challenge the contents of the Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP), and even before this if the council refuses to carry out an EHC needs assessment. You can also appeal if the council decides to cease the statement or EHCP.

The deadline for making appeals or obtaining a mediation certificate is two months from the date of the letter from the local authority giving their final written decision. In most cases a mediation certificate must be obtained (in lieu of actual mediation). There are an additional 30 days from the date of the mediation certificate to make an appeal to SEND Tribunal


  • All Local Authorities (LAs) are required to have a formal complaints process. Before using the council's formal complaints procedure, we would encourage you to try and resolve the problem informally by requesting a meeting with your allocated EHC Coordinator, their line manager or the Head of EHCP Processes.
  • If this does not work you can request a copy of Ealing’s formal complaints procedure, or view it on the Local Offer. You should not need any more than a brief summary of your complaint at the outset, since the council may first have to decide what type of complaint it is.
  • If you are not satisfied with the council response to your complaint, you can take it to the Local Government Ombudsman. Be aware that the Ombudsman (LGO) can usually only look at your case after the LA’s own complaints procedure has been exhausted.
  • The Ombudsman is concerned with process, not with the merits of council decisions taken properly. This means that some types of dispute will come under the LGO while others will be for the SEN Tribunal.
  • LGO complaints related to SEN may include lack of alternative provision, and failings to meet statutory timescales; delay in issuing EHCP; failure to arrange alternative provision for child with SEN refusing school; failure to provide therapies/ provision as per EHCP, etc.

What is your concern regarding?

LA's decision

You can challenge the LA's decision bas follows:

  1. Request a meeting with your EHCCo to discuss reasons for decision/provide additional evidence
  2. Request Mediation:
    • KIDS Mediation Service Telephone: 0207 359 3635
  3. Appeal to Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal (SENDIST)

Service performance/communication

  1. Raise your concerns with Head of EHCP Planning
  2. Make a complaint online