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The SEN statement is a legal document and is subject to an annual review. As a parent you should be involved in its preparation. The process can be complex and drawn out (which may add to the stress of the situation). Following a request, the local authority has 6 weeks to decide if they will carry out an assessment.

During that time you will have the chance to say why you feel your child needs a Statement of SEN.  The local education authority will then make a decision on whether to conduct an assessment. If they refuse, there could be a right of appeal to the Special Educational Needs Tribunal within two months of the decision. If the authority agree to undertake the assessment then this will be commenced. The authority must then let you know whether they will write a statement within 12 weeks of commencing the assessment. If they refuse, there may be an appeal to the Special Educational Needs Tribunal.

A draft statement will be prepared for your comments on the proposals and you will only have 15 days to respond. If you disagree you can make representations to the authority. A meeting may also be arranged to discuss matters. A final statement of special educational needs will then be provided within 8 weeks. If you disagree with the statement then this can be appealed to the Special Educational Needs Tribunal as above (within two months of the decision).

The tribunal is independent. It will look at the evidence you provide (this may include expert reports) and consider whether the authority has followed the correct procedure set out in the code of practice in making its decision.

For help and advice please contact Phil Alden on 03333 231 586 or email us.

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