Witnesses

The Tribunal need to know who you want to attend your Hearing to give evidence in your appeal. It is important that evidence is given by those who know your child/young person and are able to give information that is relevant to the areas of dispute.

Three is probably the maximum number that would need to give evidence in your appeal but  witness statements can be submitted in place of personal attendance for any number of witnesses (these will need to be detailed).  The Tribunal (SENDIST) has the power to limit the number of witnesses who attend as too many witnesses could prolong a case unnecessarily.

During a Hearing the Local Authority (LA) has to get their Attendance Form in at about week 6 after your Hearing has been registered.  As parents you will get them in at about week 9.  The form can be found in the link below or at the bottom of your Registration Letter.

The Attendance Form for parents is called a SEND 11 and the one for young people is a SEND11YP:

Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal forms – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

As the LA’s Form is so early in the Appeal process, they may not have called any witnesses so the form may look like this with ‘TBC’ in the boxes:

As a parent it is important to put down anyone that you think is important to hear from during your Hearing.  Remember that there is no such thing as a hostile witness.  It is also important to remember that not asking the appropriate witnesses could delay your hearing, for example if you are appealing Section I and the LA have named a School you don’t agree with and want to name another school you should call both Schools.

Calling a Witness

Before sending the Attendance Form, (the SEND 11) you must email the witnesses you are going to name to make them aware.  A simple email is fine, you just need to let them know that you are calling them as a witness, give them:

  • your child’s name,
  • the Hearing number and the current date of the Hearing
  • the reason for the Hearing, i.e. you are appealing as no School is named in Section I or you are not happy with the School the LA have named in Section I,

When you completed the SEND 35 and you stated a School name you should of already emailed them to state you are appealing for them to be named,  so emailing to ask for them to be a witness shouldn’t be a surprise to them!

You will need to say that you will pass on the Bundle and the joining instructions when you get them (then do so!).

It maybe that you don’t need any witnesses other than yourselves as the parents and the LA Tribunal Officer.

At the bottom of the Attendance Form (SEND11) you will see this box:

Please note that the deadline is actually noon on your deadline date.  Your date can be found on your Registration Letter and would look similar to the box below. It is normally the third box down on the Key Dates box: