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Evaluation of a pilot of young people’s rights to appeal and claim to the Special Educational Needs Tribunal for Wales

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  • Release date: 26 June 2014
This report provides the findings of the evaluation of the pilot projects in Carmarthenshire and Wrexham of the introduction of regulations of young people’s rights to appeal and claim to the Special Educational Needs Tribunal for Wales (SENTW).

There were no cases of  appeal and only one claim of disability discrimination to SENTW in the pilot areas during the pilot period, and the claimant opted not to take part in the study. Given the lack of cases to SENTW through the life of the pilots it is difficult to evaluate their effectiveness as they have not been tested in practice. However as a result of the time that the researchers spent with the pilot teams in conducting the action research a number of findings emerge from both areas.

Key Points

  • The two pilot areas chose differing approaches to implement the regulations. Carmarthenshire aimed at improving its communications with parents, aiming to reduce its relatively high rate of parental appeals to SENTW. In contrast Wrexham were confident that their communication methods were effective and instead focused on children’s rather than the family’s rights. Both areas shaped their approaches to delivering the regulations following a period of consultation with key stakeholders.
  • Children and young people who have been involved in the process are reported to be aware of, and understand, their rights.
  • Professionals who deal with children and young people are reported to be aware of, and understand, the rights and the implications for their practice.
  • The support structures are in place to help children and young people make decisions about whether to exercise their rights, to support them if they choose to exercise them by making a claim or appeal.
  • The situation in relation to claims of disability discrimination is less clear. The processes enabling children to make a claim, and to support decisions about exercising their right are established however identifying and engaging with young people who may be eligible to make a claim directly was difficult and therefore levels of awareness and understanding of this right are uncertain.
  • Those working in the system feel that a claim to the SENTW should be regarded as a last resort and a signal that the system may have failed in some way. The fact that there were no appeals and only one claim can in some ways be considered a sign of success and could show that the education and support systems as a whole are working.

Contact

Tel: 0300 062 5485
Email: david.roberts@wales.gsi.gov.uk

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