Before making an appeal about the assessment of Education, Health and Care (EHC) needs, the requirement for an Education Health and Care Plan (EHC Plan) or contents of an EHC plan, you must talk to a mediation advisor. Your letter from the Local Authority containing their decision will also contain information on how to contact the local mediation service.
Once you have received information from the mediation advisor, you can do one of two things:
- Choose to access mediation and inform the mediation advisor of that intention
- Tell the mediation advisor that you do not wish to engage in mediation.
If you do not wish to engage in mediation, the mediation advisor must provide you with a mediation certificate confirming this, within three working days of your notification.
If you wish to engage in mediation, then the Local Authority must make arrangements for mediation to take place within 30 days. A mediation certificate will be issued within three working days of you completing the mediation i.e. having the meeting.
The exception to this is where you wish to appeal about the school or institution named, or type of school or institution named in the EHC Plan, or the fact that there is no school or institution, or type named. You do not need to consider mediation or obtain a certificate in this case.
Should the Local Authority fail to arrange mediation within 30 days, the mediation advisor must issue a medication certificate confirming this position within three working days.
You can then lodge your appeal with Tribunal, should you still wish to do so.
If you have not obtained a mediation certificate at the end of the two month deadline for making the appeal, you can apply to the tribunal for leave to appeal without a mediation certificate. Make an application in writing for leave to appeal explaining why you do not have a certificate. The tribunal may give leave to appeal without a mediation certificate if you can show that the circumstances are exceptional.