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SEN and Disability Service Tribunal (SENDIST), Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal?

 

Where can I find out more about the Tribunal?

What are the decisions I can appeal to the Tribunal?

 

When can I appeal to the Tribunal?

 

If the Tribunal rules in my favour how long do I have to wait?

 

What is the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal?

 

The Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal (or SENDIST) considers parents’ appeals against the decisions of Education and Library Boards (Boards) about children’s special educational needs, where the parents cannot reach agreement with the Board, and also deals with claims of disability discrimination in schools.

 

Where can I find out more about the Tribunal?

 

The Tribunal has prepared a “How To Appeal” Booklet in respect of SEN appeals and a “How To Claim” Booklet in respect of disability discrimination claims that provide more information, and these are available from the Tribunal secretariat.

 

If you want to know more about the Tribunal and the procedure for making an appeal or a claim then you can contact the Tribunal at:-

Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal
3rd Floor
Bedford House
16-22 Bedford Street
Belfast BT2 7DS

Telephone: 028 9072 8757
Fax: 028 9031 3510
Email: SENDTribunal@courtsni.gov.uk

What are the decisions I can appeal to the Tribunal?

 

You can appeal to the Tribunal if the Board:

 

 

  • decides not to carry out a formal assessment of your child’s SEN but only if no assessment has been carried out within the previous 6 months; or

  • decided not to issue a Statement of your child’s SEN after making a formal assessment.

 

 

 

If the Board has made an assessment of your child’s SEN or has changed a previous Statement, you can appeal against:

 

 

 

  • the description in part 2 of the of the statement of your child’s SEN;

  • the description in part 3 of the Statement of the special educational help the Board thinks your child should get;

  • the school named in part 4 of the Statement; or

  • the fact that no school is named in part 4 of the Statement.

 

 

You can also appeal to the Tribunal if:

 

 

  • the Board turns down your request to change the school named in your child’s Statement, so long as you have asked for a grant-aided school and your child’s statement has been maintained by the Board for at least a year.

  • the Board turns down your request to carry out a reassessment of your child’s SEN, as long as it has not carried out an assessment within the last 6 months;

  • the Board decides not to maintain your child’s statement any longer;

  • after re-assessing your child, the Board decides not to amend the Statement.

 

When can I appeal to the Tribunal?

 

If you are in dispute with a Board about any of the above areas you should try, in the first instance, to resolve this with the Board. You may wish to make use of the informal and independent Dispute Avoidance and Resolution Service (DARS) provided by the Board. You have two months from the date you are notified of the “disputed decision” to appeal to the Tribunal. Even if you have appealed to the Tribunal you can still try to sort the dispute out directly with the Board or through the DARS. Access to the DARS does not prejudice your right to make an appeal to the Tribunal.

 

If the Tribunal rules in my favour how long do I have to wait?

 

As a result of SENDO Boards must now comply with the orders of the Tribunal within certain time limits.

 

 

    Table 1: Time Limits for Board Compliance with Orders of the Tribunal

 

    The period of time begins on the day after the Order is made.

 

Duty on Board Time Limit
To make an assessment - shall notify the parent  within 4 weeks
To make and maintain a statement within 5 weeks
To make a decision following a Tribunal remitting observations back to a Board  

within in 2 weeks

To amend a statement and issue an amendment notice within 5 weeks
To continue to maintain a statement immediate effect
To amend a statement and to serve an amendment notice within 5 weeks
To substitute the name of a school or other institution with that specified by a parent (or if the school is closed within 2 weeks of it opening) within 2 weeks
Dismissing an appeal against a decision to cease

to maintain a statement – cease to maintain the

statement
immediate effect

 

 

    Table 2: Time Limits for Boards to Comply with in Unopposed Appeals

 

    The period begins with the day after the Board notifies the Tribunal that they are not opposing the appeal.

 

 

Duty on Board Time Limit
Conceded appeal against a decision not to make a statement Board must make statement within 5 weeks
Conceded appeal against a decision not to review a statement, or make an assessment at the request of a parent or responsible body Board must make an assessment within 4 weeks
Conceded appeal against a decision not to comply with the parent’s request to substitute the name of a grant aided school for the name of a specified school or institution Board must comply with request within 2 weeks

 

 

  • pdf
  • DE - Supplement to the Code of Practice (.pdf) [pdf / 256KB] On the Identification and Assessment of Special Educational Needs. From 1st September 2005 the Special Educational Needs and Disability (Northern Ireland) Order 2005 (SENDO) makes changes to the existing legislation, as contained in the Education (Northern Ireland) Order 1996 for children with Special Educational Needs (SEN). In addition, new Regulations have been made to support the changes contained within the SENDO.
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