SEND Tribunal National Trial - An Update

SEND Tribunal National Trial - An Update

We previously wrote about the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal (SENDIST) National Trial on 6 February 2020 – you can view this article here.

Here is a brief reminder of what the National Trial does:

Since 3 April 2018, SENDIST have been running a National Trial which allows parents and young people (YP) with SEND who appeal to SENDIST about:

  • Their local authority (LA) not issuing an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP);
  • The special educational needs, provision and placement in the EHCP;
  • Their LA not carrying out a re-assessment for a child/YP who has an EHCP;
  • Their LA not amending the EHCP following a review or reassessment;
  • Their LA’s decision to cease to maintain the EHCP

to also request SENDIST makes a non-binding recommendation about the health and/or social care needs and/or provision for the child or YP. In an EHCP this relates to Sections C and G and D and H respectively.

When our article was published on 6 February 2020, the National Trial was due to run for applicable appeals submitted to SENDIST up until 31 August 2020. This follows a previous extension from 31 March 2020.

On 18 June 2020 a letter was sent to the Director of Children’s Services by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Vicky Ford, explaining that the National Trial will now continue to at least 31 August 2021. The reason why there is going to be a further extension centres around the ongoing disruption to LAs because of Covid-19. 

Covid-19 has also disrupted evaluation of the National Trial, which is important in determining the effectiveness of the Trial and the impact of SENDIST’s ability to make non-binding recommendations about health and social care provisions for a child/YP with SEND. It is anticipated evaluation of the Trial will resume in a couple of months’ time. 

Our view is that this is a positive decision, as it will allow parents and YP with SEND to continue to address issues and lack of provision in terms of the health and social care support in an EHCP. 

We have had experience of SENDIST recommending a number of different health and social care provisions through the National Trial, including:

  • An increase in both term-time and holiday carer support, which also acknowledged that the child’s mother had her own health needs;
  • An adult social care assessment for respite in school holidays;
  • Short break activities and review of home equipment.

All of these have made significant positive differences to the families involved. 

The Boyes Turner Education Team is working remotely during this time and fully able to continue to deal with new enquiries. We can help at whatever stage you are with your EHCP and can be contacted on 0118 952 7219 or via

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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