HM Courts & Tribunals Service - First-Tier Tribunal (Special Educational Needs and Disability)

Type of service:
Advice And Information
1st Floor, Darlington Magistrates Court, Parkgate, Darlington, County Durham DL1 1RU
Telephone number:
01325 289350
Email address:
Service description:

The First-Tier Tribunal (for SEND) is responsible for handling appeals against local authority decisions regarding special educational needs. This might include a refusal to:

  • assess a child’s educational, health and care (EHC) needs
  • make a statement of their special educational needs
  • reassess their special educational needs
  • create an EHC plan
  • change what’s in a child’s special educational needs statement or EHC plan
  • maintain the statement or EHC plan

It also handles appeals against decisions to refuse people under 18 in custody:

  • an EHC assessment
  • an EHC plan after assessment
  • a placement to a suitable school or other institution after their release

The SEND Tribunal also handles appeals against discrimination by schools or local authorities due to a child’s disability.

If you Disagree with an EHC Decision:

Stage 1 - Support:
In the first instance, parents and young people can access informal support with disagreements through IASS.

Stage 2 - Disagreement Resolution:
In Northamptonshire, Disagreement Resolution Services are usually provided by KIDS and the Together Trust. These should be accessed via Global Mediation Ltd.

Stage 3 - Mediation:
Before bringing an appeal to the SEND Tribunal, you must consider mediation. This does not mean that mediation is compulsory, but it must be considered. The exception is if you are only appealing about the school or college placement (or if no school or college has been named). In Northamptonshire, Mediation Services are provided by Global Mediation Ltd

National Trial - Single Route of Redress

Parents and young people are able to appeal to the SEND Tribunal about decisions concerning Education, Health and Care (EHC) needs assessments and plans. To date, they have only been able to appeal about the special educational needs and provision sections and the placement section of EHC plans.

The trial gives parents and young people 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 SEND appeal.

This does not apply to those that are only about carrying out an EHC needs assessment.

The trial gives the Tribunal new powers to make non-binding recommendations on the health and social care aspects of EHC plans. It gives parents and young people the opportunity to raise all their concerns about an EHC plan in one place. The policy aims of the national trial are to:

  • create a more holistic, person-centred view of the child or young person’s needs at the Tribunal 
  • bring appeal rights in line with the wider remit of EHC plans 
  • encourage joint working between education, health and social care commissioners 
  • bring about positive benefits to children, young people and parents

The trial started on 3 April 2018 and will run until 31 August 2021, following an extension agreed by ministers in June 2020. This means that recommendations about health and social care needs and/or provision can be made only on LA decisions and EHC plans issued or amended from 3 April 2018.

Related Documents:

Age range:
0 - 100 years
Eligibility criteria:
  • Open to everyone
Referral route:
  • Other
Last updated on: