School Placement for Boy with ADHD and Learning Difficulties

Gillian Armitstead
Author:
Gillian Armitstead
Education Law Paralegal
Date:
14/10/2020

A School Placement Case Study - Client Situation

Miss D’s son H has ADHD as well as other learning difficulties including dyslexia, Tourette’s syndrome, and autistic spectrum disorder. Because of this, H struggled concentrating in school.

H had tried a couple of different schools before he had a school named in his Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP). After a little while, the named school and Miss D agreed that it couldn’t offer H the right support. Miss D lodged an appeal with the SEND Tribunal to change the school that was named in her child’s EHCP.

The Local Authority named a different school in the EHCP, but it was one that Miss D and H had already visited. When they visited they didn’t think the school was right for H, and Miss D was hesitant to agree to send her child there. But eventually she accepted the school as the right choice, upon the Local Authority’s recommendation.

Soon after accepting the choice of school, Miss D found a recent Ofsted report about the school. The report outlined some issues that Miss D was concerned about when she visited, and some of the issues were specifically around providing support for children with the same Special Educational Needs (SEN) that H has.

Miss D was understandably upset by this and she began to worry that she’d made a mistake by agreeing to send H to a school that she knew wasn’t right.

How We Helped

Miss D contacted our team of Education Lawyers and explained H’s situation. I assured Miss D that I was happy to help her with her case.

I looked through the Ofsted report to understand Miss D’s concerns and reassured her that it wasn’t too late to appeal the Local Authority’s decision about where H should go to school, as the Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Tribunal process was still ongoing.

Then I looked into other expert reports on the school to build up a case against sending H to the school named in his EHCP. Miss D suggested a different school to the SEND Tribunal, which she had visited with her son and thought it would suit H better.

I helped Miss D compile written evidence to submit to the SEND Tribunal, and gave her legal advice on any oral evidence that she could give at the Hearing to support her case. I represented her throughout the SEND Tribunal process, but she represented herself in the Final Hearing.

The Outcome

The SEND Tribunal heard from both the Local Authority and Miss D, as well as from the Head Teachers of both parties’ choice of school.

The Judge found that the school that Miss D and H had preferred from their visits was more established and had the processes already in place to support H, and that the school that the Local Authority had recommended was still in the early stages of developing their processes around supporting children with SEND. This meant that the Local Authority’s choice of school was found to be unsuitable for H.

The final decision was that the school that Miss D and H preferred would be named in his EHCP.

The school placement cost £72,049 – 75,233 a year, which was around £33,015 – 36,199 more expensive than the school placement that the Local Authority had suggested. But as the Local Authority’s choice of school was found unsuitable, the costs argument didn’t impact the Tribunal’s final decision.

Miss D was delighted by the outcome and hoped that H’s education would be much less disrupted than it had been in recent years. She said that it was the first school H had seemed happy with, as it had outdoor activities and could offer him extra support with his literacy.

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