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Refusal to Issue an EHC plan (SEND Appeal)

What happens when the LA decides not to issue an EHC Plan?

After the Education Health Care(EHC) needs assessment has been carried out, an EHC draft plan is written describing the provision needed to support child’s or young person’s Special Educational Needs (SEN) at their educational setting. You will have the opportunity to view this draft plan and request changes to it within 15 days of receiving it.

This EHC draft plan is then considered by the SEN Panel. Sometimes the SEN Panel decides that the provision described in the EHC draft plan can be met by a local mainstream placement using their delegated funding (sometimes called the notional SEN budget) and through the Local Offer, without the need for an EHC plan. When this happens the Casework Officer writes to the nursery/school/college and the parent to say that the EHC Plan will not be issued.

The letter will explain what to do if you disagree with the decision.

What happens next?

This decision might be of disappointment to you but is important to keep in mind that there are a number of ways children and young people can be supported through the resources ordinarily available in educational settings and this refusal does not prevent you from making further requests for an EHC Needs Assessment in the future should you feel the educational setting is not meeting your child’s or the young person’s needs.

Nevertheless, if you have any concerns about the decision the local authority has made you may wish to:

  • contact the officer named in the letter that you received about this, who will be able to explain in more detail how the decision was reached.

  • ask for a meeting in the early years setting, school or college with the special educational needs co-ordinator (SENCo), headteacher/principal or any other member of staff who may be able to discuss your child's special educational needs and how they can be met by the support already available in the early years setting, school or college.

  • ask the early years setting, school or college and other professionals working with your child or young person to set up a SEN Support Plan. The SEN support Plan should be child/person-centred and it should involve any professional/s supporting the child or young person in order to effectively identify the support your child will receive promptly and determine how progress will be monitored through regular reviews.

  • Contact the Westminster Information Advice Support Service (IASS) which offers a free, confidential, impartial information advice and support service for all parents and carers of children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and for children and young people with SEND in Westminster.

However, if you are unhappy with the SEN Panel’s decision not to issue an EHC Plan you have the right of appeal to the First Tier Tribunal (Education and Disability).

  • You have 2 calendar months from the date of the Local Authority’s letter informing of their decision not to issue an EHC Plan to register your appeal and this can be done by obtaining a Notice of Appeal from the Tribunal directly.

  • Appeal forms and details of the procedure to be followed can be obtained directly from the First Tier Tribunal and you can go to their website by clicking on this link: First-tier Tribunal (Special Educational Needs and Disability).

  • Before making an appeal you must demonstrate that you have considered mediation with the local authority by contacting a mediation and disagreement resolution service within two months of the date of the letter advising you of the decision. They will be able to give you a certificate to show you have done so. The Children and Families Act 2014 requires all local authorities and health commissioner services to provide an independent mediation and dispute resolution service to help when parents, carers, young people, schools, health care services and the authority can't agree on how to meet a child or young person's special educational needs. Mediation is free and the local authority will pay reasonable expenses as set out in regulations. You will be sent details of how to contact the Mediation service by the local authority when they write to you to inform you of the decision not to issue an EHC Plan.

  • Your right to go to Tribunal is not affected by involvement in mediation or any of the actions listed above.

Westminster Information Advice and Support Service (IASS) assist parents providing impartial and confidential service. Contact us:

  • To find answers to their questions

  • To learn more about schools and special educational needs

  • To help with appealing to SEND Tribunal