Partner, Education & Public Law Solicitor
For legal advice call our Education Solicitors and SEND Lawyers.
We have the largest team of top ranked Education Law specialists in the UK. Our expert Education Solicitors and SEND Lawyers can help you find the right solutions for your child, so they receive the education and help they need.
We pride ourselves on giving practical advice, based on our years of expertise and experience in all areas of Education Law. And we also extend our expertise to work with other solicitors and alongside Case Managers during or after litigation.
We represent parents and children, not Local Authorities. We’re focused on giving expert help to you so you can navigate the system and get the solutions that your child needs.
If you need help with an education issue, get in touch with one of our specialist Lawyers with more detail and we’ll tell you if we can help.
In addition to special educational needs and EHCPs, we can also help with admissions, exclusions, children out of education, bullying, discrimination, judicial reviews and many different types of disputes with schools.
For legal advice contact our Education Solicitors and SEND Lawyers.
We know that it is often not easy to get your child’s special educational needs met. Local Authorities’ education budgets are squeezed, and schools often seem to have other priorities. We understand the importance of getting the right provision now, to avoid more problems later.
We can review your situation and give you the Special Educational Needs (SEN) advice that you need to move things forward for your child.
If you need to go further and appeal to the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal or take action with a Judicial Review to enforce provision, we can be there for you.
It is not unusual for Local Authorities to refuse to agree to the provision required, the school place you want or even to give your child an Education Health and Care Needs Assessment at all. In all of these situations, and more, our Education Law Solicitors can support you to make an EHCP Appeal.
Parents have a right to express a preference for a school of their choice for their child. If your child doesn’t get a place at the school you choose, you have a right to appeal.
Our Education Law Solicitors can give you realistic initial advice on the merits of any school admissions appeal, and help you with your appeal if you need us to.
We also have particular expertise helping parents with in-year admissions, and more strategic advice around challenging the admissions criteria of schools in advance of applications.
We can help you if your child has been excluded, or if they 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 have a legal aid contract and can bring Judicial Review proceedings where exclusions or other actions forcing a child out of school are potentially unlawful.
Our Education Law Solicitors also help with the next steps for children who’ve been excluded, and we have significant experience acting for children with SEN who have been excluded from 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.
Our solicitors can talk you through all possible courses of action, and then help you follow through if needed. We have a legal aid contract so can bring a Judicial Review against either the school or the Local Authority if required.
If you have a dispute with a private school, our Solicitors have significant experience of acting for parents and children in the independent school system. We can help if your child is at risk of exclusion or being forced out of school or if your child has been a victim of serious bullying or other unwanted behaviour. Early, expert input usually helps to resolve situations more quickly and avoids them escalating.
If, as a parent of a child with special needs, you can’t look after them at home any more or you want to give them a consistent environment and waking day curriculum, we can help.
Our Education Law Solicitors have lots of experience in making sure that these vulnerable children get the right support and the right environment with a residential placement. 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.
Our Education Lawyers can help parents challenge unlawful acts (or failures to act) of schools, Local Authorities and other public bodies.
A Judicial Review is an extremely powerful tool to enforce legal obligations in education law and is often the right tool to use when an urgent problem needs resolving quickly, or a blockage needs to be removed. The threat of legal action when a public body is acting unlawfully often resolves the problem.
Unlike some other education law firms, we have a legal aid contract so are in a position to take matters to Court if appropriate if initial correspondence does not work.
Discrimination should not happen in schools, but it often does. It is extremely upsetting for children and their parents. If you believe that your child has been discriminated against, our experienced Solicitors can provide you with pragmatic advice on your options, so you can achieve the right result for your child. A discrimination claim may sometimes be the way forwards, but there may well be other options available. We can help you find the right route to achieve your goals.
A child or young person has Special Educational Needs (SEN) if they have greater difficulty in learning than the majority of others the same age, or if they have a disability which prevents or hinders them from making use of normal educational facilities.
SEN is generally split into four areas. They are:
We’ll take a look at each one individually.
This can include difficulties expressing themselves or understanding others. This could be because of difficulties forming particular speech sounds or because of difficulties organising information into grammatical structures.
Children with diagnoses of Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) often have needs in this area, particularly if they find it difficult to engage in shared conversation or read social cues.
If a child or young person has needs arising solely from speaking English as an additional language (EAL), they do not have SEN. But it can be more difficult to establish whether EAL children are also affected by a learning difficulty. This should be looked at closely if there are any concerns.
This relates to difficulties processing information and includes needs arising from attention deficit disorder (ADHD) or specific learning difficulties such as dyslexia or dyscalculia.
Issues such as behavioural regulation are likely to come under this heading, along with any difficulties a child may face as a result of mental health issues such as anxiety or depression. Emotional vulnerabilities, such as attachment disorders will also be SEN if it affects the way a child learns.
Difficulties with mobility, coordination and balance, or with handwriting (indicating issues with fine motor skills) will be considered here. Health conditions, if they affect learning or access to normal school facilities are likely to be considered SEN. This area of need also includes children and young people whose learning is affected by particular sensitivities around sight, smell, sounds, or touch.
You do not need to have a diagnosis to have Special Educational Needs.
The focus in the SEN Code of Conduct is on needs. Diagnoses can be helpful in illuminating the underlying reasons for particular behaviours or symptoms, can lead to better treatment if it is needed and can bring much needed certainty to the family. But, the Upper Tribunal has made it clear that needs can be assessed without knowing their precise cause.
Schools must use their best endeavours to support children with Special Educational Needs. This is known as the ‘best endeavours’ duty.
Parents can also approach the Local Authority directly to ask for an Education, Health and Care Needs Assessment (EHCNA) if they think their child may have SEN.
If the Local Authority agrees to undertake an EHC needs assessment, it may decide to issue an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP). The EHCP should set out the child or young person’s needs, and the provision required to meet them. This can be enforced legally if the school or Local Authority is refusing to provide what is in the Plan.
If your son or daughter has Special Educational Needs or you think they might and they’re are not getting the right support, get legal advice from our Education Solicitors and SEN Lawyers as early as possible.
The process of getting an EHCP is not always straightforward, and can take a long time, particularly if statutory deadlines are not met by the Local Authority.
If your child has SEN, early intervention can help to minimise problems further down the line so take action as soon as possible.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
"The advice and support provided by Mr Dan Rosenberg and his colleagues was excellent. His willingness to not only provide balanced and pragmatic advice, but also consider and revise his opinion when appropriately challenged, was refreshing and appreciated. In particular his sensible consideration of the wider picture and clear communication of the likely outcomes of certain litigation choices has undoubtedly saved us considerable amount of future stress."
"From my very first phone call with SM's Head of Public Law Imogen Jolley, the game changed for me — emotionally and strategically — with regard to the sleepless nights (literally) I had been experiencing for months as we faced the County Council to secure funding for our son. The ease that I fell back into after a brief chat with her is something I will always remember. A feeling of despair and overwhelm was replaced with a sense of competence and empowerment."
Simpson Millar5 stars
Highly recommend for SEN representation
Mia at Simpson and Millar, has supported us as a family, from the initial EHCP - assessments and advice- through to the appeal process and on to a happy resolution. Our confidence came from Mia’s leg...Annabelle
Simpson Millar4 stars
My experience with Simpson Millar was a…
My experience with Simpson Millar was a positive one . Elisa was very helpful she went above and beyond to help and give advice when needed and very prompt with responding back to emails . I would...Jay Lee
Simpson Millar5 stars
We were recommended this firm for education law and disability rights.
We were recommended this firm for educational support. Lucy's advice, knowledge, calm presence and ability to advocate for our needs in a multi-disciplinary meeting has been exceptional. She is fastid...Customer
Simpson Millar5 stars
Special education needs
Heather, Lucy and Mia have helped greatly in relation to getting the Local Authority to supply education provision for a child with special needs. This had been dragging on prior to their involvemen...Happy customer
Simpson Millar5 stars
I highly recommend Simpson Millar for…
I highly recommend Simpson Millar for their excellent advice and professionalism. We had reached a deadline when dealing with our local authority regarding a special needs school place for our daughte...Elisa Uludag
Simpson Millar5 stars
My experience was Fantastic- Although I…
My experience was Fantastic- Although I can’t comment too much on Simpson&Miller as a company, due to having contact with one Solicitor dealing with my case- I was very lucky to have Saskia Coles work...Mr James Hoey
Simpson Millar5 stars
Caring and professional
Dan, Heather and Clara supported me through a very difficult and challenging time. They were very professional and caring and took the appropriate action when needed. Highly recommended. Thank you guy...Zahra Alioglu
Simpson Millar LLP's education team demonstrates particularly strong capabilities representing vulnerable children and parents at Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) tribunals and high-profile judicial reviews.
In addition, other work covers matters relating to home to school transport, failures to provide education and discrimination.
'Tactical genius' Dan Rosenberg has particular expertise in judicial reviews aimed at helping children who are out of school and not receiving education; he also regularly handles work relating to school exclusions.
Public law group head Imogen Jolley has significant expertise in school admissions and exclusions cases, as well as diabetes SEND cases.
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.
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.
An EHCP (Education, Health and Care Plan) identifies your child’s Special Educational Needs (SEN) and should entitle them to the right provision they need to support them.
The reality of the end of Year 12 for all students normally includes a set of internal exams. This helps the school or college to have a better understand of how well pupils have coped with the transition from GCSE to A Level work, and helps inform the process of providing predicted grades to universities.
If your child has Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND), they may need an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP). But we understand that EHCPs can be confusing.
Fill in the form below to get in touch with one of our dedicated team members, or call our team today on: 0808 239 9764