Appealing a refusal to issue an EHCP

If a child, or young person is thought to have Special Educational Needs, an Education, Health and Care (EHC) needs assessment is carried out by the local authority.

At the end of an EHC Needs Assessment, the local authority may issue either a draft Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) or decide that one is not necessary. If the local authority refuses to issue an EHCP, the parent or young person has a right of appeal to the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal (SENDIST).


My local authority refused to issue an EHCP, what now?

If the local authority refuses to issue an EHCP then they will send a decision letter, which must include their reasons for the refusal.

It is important to understand the reasons for the refusal. Following that, if you still wish to make an appeal, you will need to contact your mediation service within 2 months of the date on the letter. You must at least consider mediation and will receive a medication certificate whether you accept or decline the service. Once you have the certificate, you will then need to send it with your appeal papers and form to the SENDIST.

It is advisable to get specialist legal advice before you submit your appeal to ensure that you have all the necessary evidence, understand the process and have the best possible chance of securing your desired outcome.


How can a solicitor help my refusal to issue an EHCP appeal?

To succeed in your appeal, you will need to submit evidence to the SENDIST about the special educational needs and disabilities you, or the child has, and the extra support required. Our SEN experts, have helped hundreds of families gather evidence, witness statements, form arguments and ensure that the evidence provided meets the legal test for an EHCP to be issued.

If you are considering mediation, our solicitors will be able to guide you on whether mediation is likely to be successful, and if not, guide you through making the appeal. If your case requires a hearing, we can help you prepare a strong case and represent you if needed.


How long does a refusal to issue an EHCP appeal take?

Usually, the appeal process takes up to approximately 8 months to reach hearing and a further 2 weeks to receive the decision. If your appeal is a phase transfer appeal (e.g., primary to secondary schools) the appeal process will usually be shorter, but this does depend on the SENDIST’s hearing availability.


What happens during an EHC needs assessment?

See our factsheet The EHC needs assessment 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

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