Appealing a refusal to assess

If a child or young person is thought to have special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) that requires additional support, the parent, or young person themselves can ask the local authorities for an EHC Needs Assessment.

After a request is made for an Education, Health and Care (EHC) Needs Assessment, the local authority has six weeks to decide whether to conduct an EHC needs assessment. The decision should be based on whether the legal test for an EHC Needs Assessment has been met.

In our experience, local authorities can sometimes apply blanket policies or incorrect legal tests when deciding about an EHC Needs Assessment.


Local authority refused to assess, what happens next?

The parents of the child, or the young person themselves, has a right to appeal to the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal (SENDIST), if the local authority refuses to conduct an EHC Needs Assessment.

After the local authority decides not to carry out an EHC Needs Assessment, it is important to consider the reason why. The local authority should explain this, but will often use standard letters, which are not very helpful.

If you would like guidance on understanding the reasons behind the refusal or how to proceed with an appeal, we offer a free initial call.


How long can it take to appeal a refusal to assess?

An appeal to the SENDIST can approximately 6+ months to be completed. During this time, you will need to submit evidence to the SENDIST about the special educational needs and disabilities the child or young person has and the support they require. The SENDIST will explore that evidence and decide whether the legal test for an EHC Needs Assessment has been met.


How can a solicitor help my refusal to assess appeal?

Our special educational needs solicitors understand the process, the evidence required to meet an assessment test and the laws that local authorities are held too. This means we can help you prepare for an appeal, gather key evidence, help form arguments and advise ahead of the final hearing should you need us too.

From the start, we will give you clear advice on the likelihood of success and what to expect at each stage of the appeal. Our goal is to make sure the appeal runs as smooth and stress-free as possible to help you get the best possible outcome. Speak to our solicitors today.

See our guide on how to make an appeal for more information.

I am so happy at the outcome, I don't think we would have had such a comprehensive service from any other law firm, and you took the worry away...I do not regret a single second of the whole process, apart from the bit before you got involved. 

James' mother, Boyes Turner client

Contact our expert specialist education solicitors today for support with your claim

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