If you are concerned about any aspect of your child’s support, you can request a meeting or write to the school or local authority about your concerns.

Cerebra’s problem solving toolkit offers you model letters and tips for preparing for a meeting.

Organisations that can help

There are several organisations who can help you challenge your child’s school or education provider, or the local authority:

  • Your local SEND IASS is there to advise and support disabled children and young people and their families. Find your local service at IASS Network.
  • Contact a Family have specialist education advisors available on their helpline on 0808 808 3555.
  • IPSEA also offers advice on your child’s rights, and resources to help you challenge education providers and local authorities.
  • Cerebra’s Legal Entitlements Research Project helps families of children and young people with special educational needs who are experiencing problems with education services.

The SEND Tribunal

The SEND Tribunal is there to adjudicate between schools, local authorities and families/young people with special educational needs and disabilities. The Tribunal can make decisions on the following matters:

  • if you believe that a school has discriminated against your child because of their disability
  • if the local authority refuses to carry out an EHC needs assessment
  • if the local authority refuses to issue an EHC plan
  • if the local authority refuses to make changes to a plan after a review or reassessment
  • a decision by the local authority to end the plan
  • what the plan says about your child’s special educational needs, including the school or college named in the plan.

You might want to do more to influence decisions about special educational needs issues locally and nationally. Your local parent carer forum campaigns on issues that are important to you and your child. Visit National Network of Parent Carer Forums to find your local forum.

Timeframes for lodging an appeal and considering mediation

You have 2 months to lodge your appeal with the tribunal. For many appeals you must decide whether you want to go through mediation. However, there is no duty to go through mediation. 

You can do this by phoning the mediation services your local authority has recommended for you. 

You must make this call within the two month timeframe that has been set.

Once you've called your deadline for lodging, your appeal may be extended.

For example; Yvonne receives her notice of appeal on 12 May and is told that she has until 12 July to lodge her appeal. She phone the mediation service on 10 July and considers whether she wants to part in mediation. She decides not to and a certificate is sent confirming that she has considered mediation. This letter also confirms that she has an additional month in which to lodge her appeal, which means that she will actually have had nearly 3 months to lodge from the date on the initial appeal notice.

David also receives a notice of appeal on 12 May and phones the mediation services on 13 May. He also decides not to take part in mediation and receives his mediation certificate confirming this decision. His appeal must still be lodged by 12 July.

Get in touch, we're here for you

The Learning Disability Helpline is our free help and advice line.

Our team can offer advice, information and discuss what support Mencap can offer tailored to your needs, in your area.

Call or email us

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