More Families Appeal Over Autism Provision
It has recently been reported in the press that more parents of children with autism are taking legal action against their local authority because they do not consider that their child's needs are being met.
Such appeals are taken in the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal
and the number of appeals lodged last year rose by a third. A significant proportion of parents lodging such appeals have children with autism
, although these children may also have other needs in addition to a diagnosis of autism.
Par For The Course
Here at Simpson Millar we were not surprised to hear that the number of appeals made has risen sharply. There appears to be increasing strain on local authorities to do more with shrinking budgets. Somewhat inevitably, there are going to be cases where children do not receive the provision they are legally entitled to. This puts parents in a difficult position, and means that appealing to the specialist tribunal (which is completely independent of the local authority) is necessary.
Parents can appeal such decisions themselves and do not necessarily need a qualified lawyer to assist. However, there are various pitfalls that parents may come up against and are likely to appreciate specialist support if that is available. The law is complex and, in addition, is in a state of flux at the current time simply adding to the complexity.
The introduction of the Children and Families Act in September 2014
has brought about significant changes to law governing special educational needs. This may mean that it is even more valuable than ever before to get good legal advice should parents need to appeal
or have any queries over the provision that their child may be entitled to.
Disappointing, Not Surprising
One of our education law specialists stated that "although disappointing, it is not surprising that many more parents are finding themselves in a position where they must challenge their local authorities." This is a difficult and stressful process for parents to go through and we are always trying to assist as many parents as we can through this difficult time. We possess the knowledge and up to date experience of the tribunal system so that we are able to advise parents in the best possible way.