Why are experts important in a SEND appeal?
If you are planning an appeal to SEND and seek professional advice you will most likely receive advice that you should instruct independent experts. The most common experts suggested will be an Educational Psychologist, an occupational therapist and a speech and language therapist depending on the child or young persons needs. In some cases, other experts are needed, eg, an independent social worker or a child and adolescent psychiatrist.
These experts are often instructed at significant expense to parents and it can be difficult to find experts who have availability and also expertise in going to Tribunal hearings and experience in giving expert evidence. It is always wise before instructing an expert just to check what SEND experience they have, check that that experience is on behalf of parents/young people (rather than for the Local Authority LA) and also ask how many of the cases they are involved in are successful.
Although as parents you will know your child/young person the best the LA will take along their own experts and it supports your case to have your own experts. Otherwise you run the risk that the Tribunal panel will just accept the evidence given by the LA experts. Experts also play a crucial role in advising what your child’s needs are and the provision they need to ensure those needs are met. Following an assessment, they will advise, not on the basis of what resources might be available or what a LA is usually able to provide, but on the basis of needs. They should also visit the LA proposed school if parents are seeking a change of placement, so that they can offer advice on whether parents will be able to demonstrate that that placement cannot meet needs.
If you require any advice in relation to a SEND appeal or seek any issues in relation to your child’s education please contact us.