The LA won’t agree to the changes I want to the statement – what can I do?
If you have already had a meeting with an LA officer you could ask for an additional meeting and send in new evidence. However you should be aware that if you have more than one meeting statutory timescales no longer apply, so the LA could delay the final statement. If you feel after one meeting that you and the LA are unlikely to agree, it may be sensible to ask them to finalise the statement. This will then trigger your right to appeal.
The letter you get with the final statement will tell you that you have the right to:
- ask for mediation. This will involve a trained mediator who is independent of the LA. The aim of the mediation process is to try to achieve a consensus. This is a more informal process than Tribunal but is not legally binding
- appeal to Tribunal. This is a formal process and the outcome is legally binding on all parties
Appealing to the First-Tier Tribunal (Special Educational Needs and Disability) can be daunting, but the LA must continue to negotiate with you throughout the process and many cases are resolved before a hearing. You will need to weigh up the importance of the change you want against the potential demands of an appeal.
There is a 2 month time limit to lodge an appeal. It can take up to 6 months for a decision. The process can however be fast-tracked for secondary transfer cases.
You can appeal about:
- The description of needs in part 2
- The provision in part 3 for example support hours or speech and language therapy
- The school named in part 4
If you are appealing about the name of the school it is always sensible to appeal about parts 2 and 3 as well. The tribunal will only be able to look at these parts if you do.
You can find more information and an appeal guide on the Tribunal website