Phased Transfer Deadlines
Phased Transfer Deadlines
Currently, SEND tribunals are being listed for hearings in early 2024; whilst the SEND Tribunal has indicated that it has held back tribunal dates for phased transfer appeals, the reality is likely to be that many children and young people will not have their appeals dealt with by September 2023.
Prioritising your appeal is, therefore, vital.
This year it has been our experience that:
- There has been an increase in Local Authorities naming only by type;
- There has been an increase in Local Authorities not naming parental preference even when no alternative is named;
- There has been an increase in Local Authorities stating there is a cost issue but do not have an alternative to parental preference.
In all of these cases, the Local Authority’s conduct can potentially result in prejudice against children and young people.
In some cases, we have had to apply for a tribunal order to force the Local Authority to name a placement.
So, what can you do?
- LODGE YOUR APPEAL AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. If you apply for mediation, this is only likely to delay matters. This does not mean that you cannot continue to negotiate with the Local Authority once the appeal is lodged.
- Once the Local Authority has responded to the appeal, seek a tribunal direction for the Local Authority to name a school or college.
- Ask for specific disclosure of ALL consultation responses and a list of all schools or colleges the Local Authority has consulted or is consulting.
In some cases, given the delay in listing appeal hearings, it may be possible to consider Judicial Review proceedings alongside the appeals in the SEND Tribunal. These are unusual times, as Judicial Review cannot normally be used when there is an alternative remedy. However, as an appeal may not be resolved for 12 months or more, and decisions in respect of school placement cannot be left that amount of time, there is a real risk that many children will not have secured placements for September 2023. Their cases may not be resolved until March 2024, resulting in children and young people being without education for some time.
If your local authority has not provided you with a named school placement for September 2023 or has named a placement that you do not agree with, you need to lodge your appeal as a priority and mark it as urgent as soon as possible.
For further information or assistance, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 0117 9390350 and ask for Beverley, Emma or Celine