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What are my rights?

Parents and children, schools and other professionals can ask for a statutory assessment of a child’s needs. This is a legal process made up of several timed stages:

  1. Request for statutory assessment
  2. Advice from professionals
  3. A decision is made
  4. Parents respond
  5. Right to appeal

There is a right to appeal to the SEN Tribunal for Wales at certain key points in the statutory process.

If the council’s education department agrees that a statutory assessment is needed, we will ask for advice from parents, child or young person, school, the consultant paediatrician, the educational and child psychologist and the social services.

The Inclusion Panel, made up of head teachers, SENCos, Inclusion Officers, an Educational and Child Psychologist and the Family Support Worker, meets weekly. The Inclusion Panel decides whether a statutory assessment is necessary. Once a statutory assessment has been made, the Inclusion Panel also decides whether the child or young person needs a Statement of Special Educational Need (or S.E.N.).

A Statement of S.E.N. is a legal document which describes the child’s needs and the provision to be made in order to meet the needs. The child or young person has an entitlement to receive the provision outlined in it. A draft or proposed statement is written and sent out for comment and then a final statement is issued.

Statements must be reviewed annually according to the process set out in law. 

Looking ahead

Welsh Government is planning to reform the system for supporting children and young people with additional learning needs. It has been working with professionals, parents, schools and young people, to agree an improved system. This needs a change in the law, and a change to the Code of Practice. This is proposed to take place during 2015. 

Words to help

  • Local Authority - Your local authority is Carmarthenshire County Council.
  • Assessment - An assessment means finding out more about you and if you may need some extra help in school.
  • A.L.N. / S.E.N. - You may have Additional Learning Needs (A.L.N.) or Special Educational Needs (S.E.N.) if you need some extra help in school
  • Statement - Your local Authority may decide that you need a Statement of Special Educational Needs (S.E.N.). It will say what you need extra help with in school and how the school will help you. If you are not happy with something that is written about you in the Statement you should speak to the school's A.L.N.Co (Additional Learning Needs Co-ordinator).
  • S.E.N.T.W. Special Educational Needs Tribunal for Wales. You can go to a tribunal if you are unhappy about decisions made that affect you. A tribunal is a bit like a referee. They do not take sides but check that important rules, called laws, have been followed correctly when decisions were made.
  • Appeal - An appeal is when you tell a tribunal (S.E.N.T.W.) that you do not agree with the choices your Local Authority have made about your education. This could be about the help you have at school or the school you go to. Your parents or carers can also make an appeal.
  • Case friend - If you would like help to make an appeal you can ask a Case Friend. A Case Friend is someone you know well; it could be a family member, carer, social worker or teacher.

Page updated on: 03/05/2016

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