Case Study: Boy with ADHD Not Excluded from London Independent School

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Daniel Rosenberg Profile Picture
Dan Rosenberg

Partner, Education & Public Law Solicitor

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How we helped stop a child with ADHD from being excluded from school, which led to a full turn around in grades.

With threats of exclusion looming, a family in South London reached out to our Education Law Solicitor, Dan Rosenberg to help with their case. Their young child was at risk of being forced out of an independent day school due to his ADHD causing complications in the class. Dan was instructed as the school were inviting the parents to withdraw the child from the school. Though the child was extremely bright, his ADHD caused issues like distraction and getting into trouble frequently in class.

His parents didn’t agree with the invitation, nor did they want him to leave, as he was very settled at the school. He was in a routine, with many friends. With any individual with ADHD, you must take into account that unexpected change can disrupt their sense of structure and disability. All of this, along with the alternate schools being inappropriate at the time, lead to the parents’ decision to fight for their child to stay at the independent school.

How our legal team helped

We helped the family to come up with a plan, by having Dan Rosenberg, our Partner and Education Law Solicitor draft up a ghost letter to send to the school on the parents’ behalf. We advised on all correspondence with the school and prepared them for the meetings with the Head Teacher. This resulted in the proposed withdrawal/threat of exclusion being put on a temporary hold, whilst the situation was monitored.

With no resolutions from the last meeting, the school again looked to push ahead with forcing the boy out of the school, which would result in exclusion. At this stage, Dan wrote to the school on the family’s behalf, setting out the concern that the reasonable adjustments had not been made for the child’s disability. Those were the ones that the parents had previously asked for, and the concern was again addressed via Dan’s direct correspondence. Along with this, Dan addressed the issue that the equality legislation was being breached; which is The Equality Act 2010 . As stated in the act, ‘it is unlawful to discriminate because of the sex, race, disability, religion or belief, sexual orientation or gender reassignment of a child in school’. It is against the law for a school or education provider to treat disabled students unfavourably, which is breaching the legislation.

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How Dan maintained a relationship with the school

Dan wrote the letter in such a way to seek to maintain a positive relationship with the school, so that no negativity would result from the case. The school’s lawyers became involved, and a further agreement was reached to review the situation again towards the end of the academic year.

He later received the best school report ever

With more understanding and measures put in place by the school, together with further help that the parents had put in themselves at home for their son, the situation at school stabilised and their son managed to successfully complete the year and come back for the next school year.

By the time of the next school report, when our case had been long since closed, we received a phone call from the boy’s mother informing us that “all was well” and that her son had had the best school report that he had ever had. The relationship with the school was kept positive throughout the process, and the child’s needs and requirements were then met.

What are reasonable adjustments schools should make for disabled pupils?

Schools have a legal obligation under the Equality Act to support in all reasonable adjustments, and that includes all aspects of the school day.

Reasonable adjustments are not set out in law but examples could include:

- A visually impaired child is placed in a seat to accommodate their field of sight.

- Adjusting the snack policy to allow a child with diabetes to have high-sugar snacks

- Adapting the school uniform policy to allow children with sensory needs or allergies

- Traffic light cards being available to children who need extra time

- Coloured paper for children with dyslexia

- Allowing laptops for exams and classes for children with dyspraxia or dyslexia

-  Allowing disabled children to sit exams in a smaller room, who struggle with sensory processing

Treating disabled children equally may mean doing things differently for them, to ensure they are all on a level ground with the other children. Whilst schools aren’t legally obliged to provide adjustment for children who aren’t classified as disabled, many still will work to provide support when and if needed. They are however obliged to help any children with a disability, and they should work with the pupil and their family to agree to all necessary support.

What is a school exclusion?

School exclusion is when a pupil is removed from their school and not permitted to return for a period of time (known as fixed term) or permanently. Permanent exclusion should be a last resort for schools, so the exclusion process should be thorough.

How we can Help

The most important thing to remember if you and your child are going through exclusion and has been expelled or you fear they might be, is that you can contact us as quickly as possible. Our Education Lawyers are recognised as leaders in the field by independent legal directories, as we have extensive experience and expertise in investigating the circumstances surrounding a school exclusion/expulsion. We will work tirelessly on your behalf to get justice where your child has been wrongfully excluded, whether on the grounds of inconsistent evidence, procedure or discrimination.

Contact us today, and let us help you in communicating with your child’s school to prevent it from getting that far. Call us on 0808 239 9764.


ADHD Centre. (2023). Children with ADHD and routines.

GOV.UK. (2010). Education rights for disabled people.

UK Legislation. (2002). Education Act 2002, Section 51A.

Department for Education. (2023, April 10). What are reasonable adjustments and how do they help disabled pupils at school?

Daniel Rosenberg Profile Picture

Dan Rosenberg

Partner, Education & Public Law Solicitor

Areas of Expertise:
Education Law

Dan has been with Simpson Millar since 2010, and became a Partner in 2014. 

As a leading member of our Public Law department, he works across a wide range of areas in Education Law and Community Care, with a particular interest in work for children and young people.

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