Councils wasted £253 million fighting parents at the SEND Tribunal since 2014 reforms

*Information from Special Needs Jungle.com*

 

Somehow, it’s already early December. That means it’s time for Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service to release their set of annual figures about the work of the Special Educational Needs and Disability First Tier Tribunal (SENDIST).

If you’ve not come across SENDIST before, check here – it’s a tribunal where individual families can appeal against a range of local authority SEND decisions concerning Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs). Families can also go to SENDIST to appeal against particular types of disability discrimination too.

You can find the new SENDIST data here. The facts and figures released yesterday give us a picture updated to the end of the 2020-21 academic year (1st September 2020 to 31st August 2021). The data includes the numbers of appeals registered, the numbers of appeals dealt with, how many got settled before going through to a full hearing, and aggregated outcomes for those appeals that went to hearing.

These figures don’t include a breakdown for appeals against each individual local authority – those numbers are released in the summer. You can find the most recent breakdown by LA (for the calendar year 2020) here. Bear in mind that those figures won’t tell you anything about appeal outcomes, you’ll need to put in a Freedom of Information request for those.

Take care with the local authority figures. Although the number of appeals registered is reliable, the appeal rate figure is an estimate that assumes the SEND system works as it should – so it should be taken with a lorry-load of salt.

by Matt Keer

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