This Factsheet is about complaints about the provision of education for children with special educational needs. It should be read together with our ‘How to Complain’ webpage, available on the ‘Making A Complaint’ tab.
The Local Education Authority (LEA), a part of the Council, has a general duty to make arrangements for the education of children with special educational needs. Although a child’s needs can usually be met by the school without the LEA’s involvement, sometimes the LEA will issue a statement of special educational needs.
The Ombudsman may be able to look into complaints from parents that the LEA has failed to make provision to meet their child’s special educational needs.
If the LEA refuses to arrange an assessment of your child’s special educational needs, or subsequently refuses to make a statement, you can appeal to the Special Educational Needs Tribunal for Wales. You can also appeal to the Tribunal if you are not happy with what the LEA has put in a statement. The Ombudsman will therefore not look at any part of your complaint which concerns these matters.
If the Ombudsman upholds (agrees with) your complaint he may make recommendations to the LEA about what it should do. This may include recommending that the LEA make a payment to you to enable you to pay privately for additional help for your child.
The Special Educational Needs Code of Practice for Wales, and other useful information, can be found in the education section of the Welsh Assembly Government website –www.wales.gov.uk
For further information about the Special Educational Needs Tribunal for Wales see their website: www.sentw.gov.uk or contact their helpline on 01597 829800
The Ombudsman is independent and impartial; he cannot order public bodies to do what he recommends – but, in practice, they almost always do.
Examples of cases that the Ombudsman has looked at can be found on our website, on the ‘Publications’ tab under ‘Our Findings’ & ‘The Ombudsman’s Casebook’.