Our expert Education Law Solicitors can help you find the right solutions for your child, so they receive the education they deserve.
Has your child been unjustly excluded from school or college?
Is your child out of school or do you need one-off urgent legal advice to deal with an immediate crisis?
Do you require help through a Special Educational Needs Tribunal?
Education law can be very complex and hard to navigate, but our specialist Solicitors can offer comprehensive legal advice and support.
We’ll speak to you in plain English rather than legal jargon, so you know exactly what’s going on at every stage.
More Information on Education Law
Our Education Law Solicitors can support you and your child in many areas including:
Education, Health and Care Plans for Pupils with SEN
Local authorities have legal duties to ensure children with Special Educational Needs (SEN) have their needs met. These can be enforced by legal means if necessary.
Required provision is outlined in a child’s legally binding Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP), but if you’re not happy with how it’s worded or whether it’s being followed, we can help you.
Our Education Law Solicitors can also assist if you believe your child’s Education Health and Care needs assessing or if a local authority is refusing to issue an Education, Health and Care Plan.
If a school is full, it must apply over-subscription criteria as a means of allocating places fairly and lawfully.
Parents can appeal if their child isn’t offered a place and our Education Law Solicitors are very experienced in dealing with such appeals successfully. We also have particular expertise advising parents on in-year admissions.
We can assist parents whose children have been excluded, or who are at risk of exclusion. Early expert legal advice is often key to stop a bad situation getting worse. Our Education Solicitors have experience challenging exclusions and in exclusion appeals and hearings before the governing body and Independent Review Panel.
We can also help with the next steps for children who’ve been excluded, or if you want to take action because your child’s Special Educational Needs weren’t adequately dealt with.
Children out of School
Having a child who is out of school, particularly if they aren’t receiving education, is extremely difficult for any parent. Even if a child has been excluded from a school, they should still be receiving education.
We can work out the right course of action and have the tools to follow that through. This may include a Judicial Review against either schools or local authorities where necessary.
Disputes with Independent Schools
We assist children at risk of exclusion or being forced out, and also act for parents whose children have been victims of serious bullying and other unwanted behaviour in independent schools. By taking early action, you might be better able to resolve a situation favourably.
If, as a parent of children with special needs, you can’t look after them at home any longer, or wish to give them a consistent environment and waking day curriculum, we can help.
Our Education Law Solicitors have lots of experience in ensuring these most vulnerable children get the right support and the right environment. Our expertise in education and social care law means we’re well placed to advance these cases through a Tribunal or, if necessary, Judicial Review.
Education Judicial Review
We can help parents challenge unlawful acts (or failures to act) of public authorities. A Judicial Review is an extremely powerful tool to enforce legal obligations in education law, but it might not always be the right approach to take.
Our Solicitors are very experienced in working out what’s best to do, to get the right outcome for you and your child.
Linked Family Proceedings
We’re well-placed to assist parties in family proceedings where there is an education element.
Our Education Law Solicitors will work closely with Family Solicitors, often on issues concerning Special Education Needs and admissions appeals.
If you’re being prosecuted because your child hasn’t attended school, we can assist with the underlying dispute with the local authority to move matters forwards.
If you need transport for your child and aren’t getting it, we can advise on whether you have a case and pursue it if necessary.
Funding Your Case
We undertake both private and publicly funded (Legal Aid) work with clients.
Our Education Law Solicitors offer fixed fees for admissions appeals and can discuss packages for Special Educational Needs appeals.
We’ll give you a clear estimate, as we want to be open and transparent about how much legal action may cost.
We’re currently one of two law firms to have an Education Legal Aid contract.
Where parents aren’t eligible for Legal Aid, it’s often possible to do initial work privately, and if that doesn’t resolve the problem, make a subsequent application for Legal Aid for the child.
Frequently asked questions
- Will I know whose handling my case?
You’ll be told who’s dealing with your case and who’ll supervise them. Sometimes, it’s more efficient to have more than one person working on a case and you’ll be told if this applies to you.
You can contact all staff through the main office number. If the person dealing with your case isn’t available, a colleague will do whatever they can to assist, or will take a message.
- Will I have to visit your office?
We work for clients from all over England and Wales, communicating with them by phone, e-mail or post. In many education cases, it isn’t necessary for us to meet clients face-to-face.
Clients who wish to meet us are welcome to visit our offices, which are fully accessible for wheelchair users.
- Will I win my case?
In most cases, we’ll only be able to pursue a case under public funding (Legal Aid) if we think you’ve a good chance of winning.
If you’re paying privately, we’ll advise you on what we consider to be your prospects of success so you can decide whether or not to invest money in the case.
We’ll advise all clients as the case develops of any change in the situation.
- Can legal action affect my relationship with a Local Authority or doctor?
While it’s understandable that a client will be concerned that future services or treatment will be harder to get if legal action is threatened or pursued, most public authorities are used to the idea of legal challenges. So the client’s ability to access services isn’t harmed.
Our approach is always to be practical and professional and to settle issues by negotiation if possible, so that relationships are left on a better footing for the future.
We can often negotiate settlements without the need for Court proceedings. If you feel that the threat of legal action is interfering with your access to treatment or services, you can discuss this with us and we can advise you on how to proceed.
- How long will it take?
This will, of course, depend on the type of case.
School exclusions and admissions appeals are generally dealt with in a matter of weeks, though challenges to those appeals can take a number of months or more. Special Educational Needs appeals last approximately five months from start to finish.
Our initial legal advice will usually include an estimate of how long we expect your particular case to take. If you want to clarify, please just ask.
- How much will it cost?
We’ll tell you straight away if you’re going to be liable to pay us for our work. We’ll never charge you without advising you first on what the cost is likely to be and obtaining your agreement that we can proceed.
We run various fixed fee and reduced fee schemes to help clients manage finances.
For free legal advice call our Education & Community Care Solicitors
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Simpson Millar is a national law firm with over 500 staff and offices in Bristol, Cardiff, Kingston-upon-Thames, Lancaster, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Morecambe and Southport.