Independent Special School Placement for Boy with Autism and Suspected ADHD

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Author:
Jessica Wake
Education Law Paralegal
Date:
30/06/2021

12-year-old G was at a mainstream secondary school that wasn’t meeting his special educational needs.

G has a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder and was under investigation for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). G also experienced difficulties with regulating his emotions, sensory processing and language and communication difficulties.

G’s mother, Ms F, didn’t think that G’s placement at a maintained mainstream secondary school was the right fit for her son, and as a result he was starting to refuse going to school and miss out on his education.

Ms F lodged an appeal with the SEND Tribunal to change some of the sections in G’s his EHCP (Education, Health and Care Plan), including the:

Ms F was concerned that without additional support, G would continue to academically regress and his mental health would deteriorate.

How We Helped

Ms F got in touch with our Education Lawyers and we were happy to help. We started to get to know G’s situation and looked at the Working Document to see how his EHCP could be improved.

Looking at an Alternative Placement 

Ms F’s wanted to change the Local Authority’s named maintained mainstream secondary school to her preferred placement of an independent special school, not approved by the Secretary of State under section 41 of the Children and Families Act 2014. There was a costs difference between the two placements of almost £50,000.

Getting Expert Input 

We arranged for G’s needs to be assessed by an independent Educational Psychologist, Occupational Therapist and Speech and Language Therapist, who all gave recommendations to propose during the Working Document process of G’s EHCP.

We negotiated with the Local Authority on Ms F’s behalf to narrow the issues before the Hearing. But the main issue, the placement G would attend, couldn’t be agreed so needed to be decided at the virtual Tribunal Hearing.

Building a Strong Argument 

Ahead of the Hearing, we provided Ms F with detailed Hearing arguments that she could use when representing herself at the Hearing. Ms F challenged and questioned the Local Authority’s Educational Psychologist’s evidence, which significantly impacted the Tribunal’s overall decision.

After the Hearing, the Tribunal requested further written submissions to determine whether the Local Authority’s placement was suitable to meet G’s needs. We helped Ms F to summarise her position and the evidence put forward by the Local Authority’s expert.

What Was The Outcome?

Despite the significant costs difference, the Tribunal were very impressed with the arguments Ms F made and agreed that the Local Authority’s placement was unsuitable for G.

And so they named her preferred placement for G.

Ms F’s arguments also persuaded The Tribunal that G required additional direct Speech and Language Therapy and Occupational Therapy to support his special educational needs.

Ms F and G are very happy with the outcome of the Hearing and G is excited to start his education at his new school during the summer-term.

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