If you require advice on Educational Provision, please get in contact with our litigation team. At Bloomsbury Law, we provide a bespoke service to advise you on all your Education requirements. For a tailor made service on all Alternative Educational Provision matters, call us at Bloomsbury Law on 0207 998 7777 or contact us via email so we may arrange a call back.
Schools have an obligation to provide support to children with special educational needs, Education Provision is mandatory. This may include the position where your child has a disability which prevents him/her from making use of the School facilities, or difficulty in accessing education (in comparison with children of the same age).
Each School must have a special educational needs coordinator who is responsible for maintaining education provision. Support may be offered at three levels:
- School Action;
- School Action Plus; and
- Statement of Special Educational Needs (SEN).
School Action is support provided to the pupil by the School within their budget and resources and may be used on a daily basis to support children. A tailored education plan will be prepared (which parents should be involved in) for your child to set objectives for the support being provided and this will be reviewed at least twice per year and ideally, every term.
School Action Plus involves input from other support services such as speech and language specialists or psychologists in addition to the above and the review of the tailored education plan, it may lead to this if support being offered in School action is not meeting the objectives.
In more complex cases, a full assessment may need to be undertaken to determine whether a Statement of Special Educational Needs (SEN) is required.
The SEN is a legal document and is subject to an annual review. As a parent you should be involved in its preparation. The process can be complex and drawn out but usually proceeds in the following stages:
- Following a request, the local authority has 6 weeks to decide if they will carry out an assessment. During that time you will have the chance to say why you feel your child needs a Statement of SEN.
- The local education authority will then make a decision on whether to conduct an assessment. If they refuse, there could be a right of Appeal to the Special Educational Needs Tribunal within two months of the decision.
- If the authority agrees to undertake the assessment then this will be commenced. The authority must then let you know whether they will write a statement within 12 weeks of commencing the assessment. If they refuse, there may be an appeal to the Special Educational Needs Tribunal.
- A draft statement will be prepared for your comments on the proposals and you will only have 15 days to respond. If you disagree you can make representations to the authority. A meeting may also be arranged to discuss matters.
- A final statement of special educational needs will then be provided within 8 weeks. If you disagree with the statement, this can be appealed to the Special Educational Needs Tribunal as above (within two months of the decision).
The Tribunal is independent. It will look at the evidence and consider whether the authority has followed the correct procedure set out in the code of practice in making its decision. Our team can assist you with initial liaison with the School to identify needs and obtain an individual education plan, requesting a statutory assessment, reviewing the statement of special educational needs, through to representation at the Tribunal appealing the refusal to provide a statement of special educational needs.
You may appeal to the First Tier Tribunal (SEND) in the following circumstances:
- A refusal to carry out a statutory special educational needs assessment;
- A refusal to make a statement following a special educational needs assessment;
- Contents of the statement of special educational needs including;
- The description of the special educational needs;
- The description of the help required to meet the special educational needs;
- The type of School named or failure to name a specific School within part 4 of the statement;
- A refusal to change the name of the school in Part 4 to another School;
- A refusal to reassess the child’s special educational needs (if over 6 months since last assessment);
- The withdrawal of a statement; and
- A refusal to amend or review a statement annually.
You must act swiftly, as any appeal in relation to the above must be lodged within two months of the decision.
The First Tier Tribunal can also hear cases concerning discrimination in schools, but is unable to make any awards of financial compensation. Claims concerning this must be brought within 6 months. Alternatively, an action for damages can be pursued via the County Court.
If you or someone you know is looking for legal advice on Education Provision Claims, please get in contact with one of our specialist litigation solicitors. We have years of experience in the field and are happy to help. We will listen to your circumstances, answer any inquiries you may have and address them accordingly.
What do I do next?
Contact us online or speak to one of our dedicated education specialists on 0207 998 7777 for a free initial consultation. With our vast experience in the field, our bilingual speaking team will work with you to ensure this process runs as smooth as possible. All information you provide us with is treated with the utmost confidentiality.
We will contact you no later than the next working day to arrange a meeting at our offices in London W1 to advise on the agreement.