Letter to Appeal for Special Needs Education
If you think that your child is struggling to cope at school, and believe that he or she has learning difficulties, you may want to approach the school to request a learning difficulties assessment (see elsewhere on this site, "Letter to a school for Learning Difficulties Assessment" for more information). This occurs when the school contacts your local education authority (LEA) to ask them to make an assessment of your child's needs. The assessor will look at each child individually, but will also ask for information from your child's teachers, doctors, family, and/or social workers. If a school has asked the SENS (special educational needs service) to assess your child and the result is one that you disagree with, then you have the option of appealing against the decision.
How Do I Appeal Against a SENS statement?
You should talk to the school in the first instance. If possible, make an appointment with the school's special needs co-ordinator to discuss your concerns; he or she will probably be able to talk you through the possible steps you can take. If your child has had a formal assessment by the LEA, and the result has been a response in ‘note in lieu’ that explains why the LEA's special educational needs team have decided not to issue a statement, you can appeal to the council's Special Education Needs Tribunal or to your local Disagreement Resolution Service. Your school may offer to lodge this appeal on your behalf, or may say that you need to contact the LEA directly. If the latter case is your experience, then you can write to the area's special educational needs officer about your desire for an appeal. It is best to do so by written letter. This can be carried out in the following way.
The LEA's Area Special Educational Needs Officer
5 May 2008
Dear Special Needs Officer
I am the parent of Rylie Chien, a pupil at the Annette Conner School in Anytown. I have been in close contact with the school to organise a special needs assessment as Rylie is having a great deal of difficulty keeping up at school. His teachers encouraged me to apply for a SENs assessment and this has been carried out but you have informed me that a statement has not been provided.
As is my right under the 1996 Education Act, Section 325, I am now writing to appeal against the decision by the (name of your county) Education Authority not to make a statement for my son, Rylie. This is because I believe that my son requires special educational provision due to his learning difficulties, detailed in the accompanying letter. I wish this matter to be considered by the Special Educational Needs Tribunal.
You can contact me, Jane, on 0151 2343 9049 or 0775822342, or email me at email@example.com, or write to me at the address above.
Mrs Jane Chien, mother of Rylie Chien