Special School Placement Secured for Boy Starting Year 7 in Mainstream School

Posted on: 2 mins read
Heather Davidson

Public Law Associate Solicitor

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S’s mother, Ms L, didn’t think her son could cope with a mainstream secondary school.

Because of his special education needs, S had struggled at a mainstream primary school. He would often run away from school as he was so unhappy. Things had deteriorated over time, and by the end of year 6, the situation was so bad that S couldn’t attend school.

S was due to transfer to a secondary school in September 2021. Ms L was terrified and didn’t believe that S would be able to cope in a mainstream secondary.

The Local Authority (LA) had only just agreed to conduct an Education, Health and Care Needs Assessment. The timing was tricky, as the LA would not complete the assessment, let alone finalise the Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP), until well after term started in September.

Ms L was concerned that S would have to attend a mainstream school and could foresee it going badly wrong, causing a significant detriment to her son and his education.

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How We Helped

We wrote to the LA requesting that they urgently consider placing S at a special school while his EHCP Needs Assessment took place.

We made it clear how important it was that his placement was arranged before the beginning of term, so that S could start afresh and to avoid any unnecessary distress from changing schools, as well as what would be inevitable disciplinary interventions at the mainstream school.

Our team argued that this was an exceptional circumstance under the Special Educational Needs and Disability Code of Practice.

The Code states that in certain exceptional circumstances it is possible for a child or young person to attend a special school without an EHCP when:

  • The child or young person is being assessed for an EHCP
  • The parent, Local Authority, and the head teacher of the special school agree to the placement

We highlighted how S had not been coping at mainstream primary school and would not cope at a mainstream secondary school. We also noted that although the Local Authority had not yet made a decision about issuing an EHCP, there was a strong chance they would agree to provide S with an EHCP following his assessment.

What Was The Outcome?

The Local Authority, Ms L, and the head teacher agreed to place S at a special school. This was arranged in advance of the school term starting.

When S walked out of school after his first day, Ms L noticed that that it was the first time ever that he left school with a smile on his face.

Ms L is delighted that her son is now in the right education setting and that he is getting the support he needs.

Ms L was represented by Dan Rosenberg and Heather Davidson in Simpson Millar’s Education Law team.  If you need help getting a school placement or an EHCP decision quickly, please get in touch.

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