Independent Special School Place Secured for Child with Dyspraxia

Author:
Dan Rosenberg
Partner, Education & Public Law Solicitor
Date:
21/05/2019

An Education Law Case Study - Client Situation

Our Education Solicitors were contacted to lodge and run an appeal for a secondary transfer placement following the Local Authority finalising the Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) in February 2019. The family’s son has a diagnosis of dyspraxia and they required legal advice and assistance on challenging the Local Authority’s decision not to place him in an Inner London specialist school. 

The family were anxious as their son was attending a small mainstream primary school with small class sizes. However, he was still below his age related expectations and was behind his peers. The family was concerned that he was becoming increasingly isolated and was playing with children who were, in some cases, four to five years younger than him. 

The family’s son had a full time teaching assistant at primary school, but were worried that he would be vulnerable and isolated in a large mainstream secondary placement.

The family required legal advice and assistance to appeal to the First Tier Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEN) Tribunal following the issuing of the final Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP). 

How We Helped

Following positive initial advice, our Education Solicitors were instructed to conduct the appeal to the First Tier Tribunal. We prepared grounds and instructed an appropriate independent specialist   Educational Psychologist and Occupational Therapist to prepare reports.

The clients believed that their son’s primary issue was around sensory needs which could not be met in a large, mainstream secondary placement. Further, they believed that he would not have a suitable cohort or peer group which would enable him to thrive and the gap between his peers would continue to grow.

The Local Authority’s position remained that the local academy was suitable and could meet his needs, and this was supported by their in-house expert reports.  

However on the day of the hearing, the Local Authority, following a pressure from and continued negotiations with our Education Solicitors, agreed to place the client’s son in the independent specialist placement. This was understanding that the parents would agree to transport their son to and from the school, which was something that they had in any event always made clear to the Local Authority that they were prepared to do.   

The Outcome

The Local Authority named our client’s preferred school in section I of his EHCP. They also agreed to significantly amend sections B and F of the EHCP, agreeing with our expert reports as to the provision that was required. 

The First Tier Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEN) Tribunal agreed to issue a Consent Order on the day of the hearing. With a favourable outcome, albeit at the last minute the need for the hearing fell away. Our client’s son will now start secondary school in his parents’ preferred placement in September 2019.               

For more information see Special Educational Needs.

For legal advice call our Education Solicitors

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