Disagree with a special educational needs decision

Disagree with an Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plan

You can appeal to the First Tier Tribunal (Special Educational Needs and Disability) if you’re not happy with:

  • the description of the special educational needs in an EHC Plan
  • the special educational provision in an EHC Plan
  • the school or other educational institution named in an EHC Plan
  • our decision not to create an EHC Plan
  • our decision not to do an assessment or re-assessment
  • our decision not to amend an EHC Plan following a review or re-assessment
  • our decision to stop maintaining an EHC Plan

The national trial gives you new rights to request recommendations about the health and social care needs and provision specified in EHC Plans, in addition to the educational aspects, when making a special educational needs (SEND) appeal. The SEND tribunal will be able to make non-binding recommendations. Find out more about the SEND tribunal extended powers national trial

What this means for parents and young people

If you are requesting recommendations about the health and social care content of the plan as part of your SEND appeal, this will mean the Tribunal will take a more holistic, person-centred view of the needs of the child or young person.

SEND tribunal recommendations about health or social care elements of an EHC Plan are not legally binding, but the local authority and/or health commissioner is generally expected to follow such recommendations.

Where they are not followed, the reasons for not following them must be explained and set-out in writing to you and to the Department for Education. If they are not followed, you can complain to the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman (LGSCO) or Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) or seek to have the decision judicially reviewed.

Before you appeal

You'll need to get mediation advice before you can appeal to the tribunal, within two months of the our decision you wish to appeal against.

You can get mediation advice from Global Mediation on 0800 064 4488. You won’t have to pay for this advice.


You don’t have to get mediation advice if your disagreement is about:

  • the school or college named in your child’s EHC Plan
  • the type of school or college - for example a specialist or mainstream school
  • no school or college being named in your child’s EHC Plan
  • a disability discrimination claim

After mediation advice

Once you’ve had mediation advice, you can decide whether or not you want to try mediation before making an appeal to the tribunal.

If you go to mediation - Global Mediation will refer you to mediation.

If you don’t go to mediation - Global Mediation will give you a certificate to show you’ve taken advice and considered mediation. You’ll need to send this certificate to the tribunal if you want to appeal.

Appeal to the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal

Find out how to appeal to the tribunal

About the national trial

The evaluation of the trial is led by IFF Research working with Belmana. For any questions or to get involved please email SENDtrial@IFFResearch.com or freephone: 0800 035 6051.

Further reading

National trial toolkit
Independent advice
When people can't agree - a guide for young people in education