WHAT AN EDUCATIONAL TRIBUNAL ACTUALLY IS
An Educational Tribunal is an independent legal process used to challenge the educational provision offered to a child or young person up to the age of 25.
HOW EDUCATIONAL PROVISION IS DECIDED
Local Authorities establish what provision is needed for a child or young person by commissioning a statutory assessment. This means asking teachers, medics, social care workers and psychologists to write reports detailing needs based on interviews and assessments.
From this information, the Local Authority will create an Education & Health Care Plan (EHCP) to indicate what provision they will offer to facilitate the student in education. Or, they will decide no additional support is needed and therefore not to write an EHCP.
THE THREE MAIN REASONS YOU MIGHT WANT TO INITIATE AN EDUCATIONAL TRIBUNAL
1. If your Local Authority refuses to carry out a statutory assessment
Local Authorities carry out a statutory assessment if your child meets both of these criteria:
- If your child may have special educational needs
- If your child requires provision or support beyond what’s available in a school. For example, if you feel that your child has medical or social care needs that affect her/ his education and that these needs should be articulated in an EHCP
If you feel a child or young person fits one of these categories but they have not been awarded a statutory assessment, you may want to employ a psychologist to do a test of your own and take this to an educational tribunal.
2. If a child or young person has been denied an EHCP following a statutory assessment
A Local Authority can refuse to award a EHCP once the assessments by medics, teachers, social care workers and psychologists have been completed.
3. If you are are unhappy with the provision offered on an EHCP
The LA and school should make ‘best efforts’ to meet the a child’s needs using their delegated budget.
If you disagree with the needs, educational arrangements or provision outlined in the EHCP, you may want to go to an educational tribunal.
The outcomes and provisions in an EHCP need to be clearly specified by the Local Authority and be possible to deliver. As should the aspirations for outcomes in a few years time. If provisions are not all articulated, not specific and not measurable and/ or you consider the educational provision decided upon is inappropriate, you have a case.
WHO PAYS FOR WHAT (REGARDLESS OF AN EHCP)
The Local Authority does not necessary ‘award provision’. Their EHCP articulates the arrangements that need to be in place for a child and the Local Authority has a responsibility to ensure that these are enacted and to monitor the progress and arrangements.
WHAT YOU CAN DO NOW
You can commission an Educational Psychologist to do an independent report and take this to a tribunal. Or, you can go to an educational tribunal without seeking specialist support.
HOW WE CAN HELP
Psychology 4 can help you through the process, complete all the assessments and argue your case at tribunal.
We can complete an assessment by specifying what we consider to be the special educational needs of your child and what provision needs to be in place beyond that ordinarily available in an ordinary school.
Our report can be added to the original assessment with greater detail of the exact nature of the needs, goals for the future (short term and longer term) and specificity of how these needs can be met.
Here, one of Educational Psychologists provides a personal insight into the tribunal process.