Interim Head of Education Law
Sarah re-joined Simpson Millar in 2018 having previously trained at the firm before spending a number of years working for a different national firm. She has a number of years’ experience in a range of Education Law and Social Care issues and has focused particularly on getting suitable education and/or services for children and young adults with a wide range of Special Educational Needs and/or disabilities.
She has secured such provision through a mixture of negotiation, mediation, Tribunal appeals and Judicial Review proceedings. Sarah has represented families in a significant number of successful Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal appeals in England (SEND) and Wales (SENTW) and in discrimination claims.
She has challenged decisions at the Upper Tier Tribunal and secured a number of high-value independent school placements for children with special educational needs, including residential provision.
Sarah regularly advises on a range of special educational needs matters such as:
- Applying for SEN assessments
- Advising on the contents of EHC plans
- Securing suitable provision and school placements.
Sarah’s reported cases include R (on the application of AT and BT) v London Borough of Barnet  EWHC 3404 which was the first reported case involving a Local Authority’s duty to fully consider the recommendations of the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal in relation to social care needs, an area in which they previously lacked jurisdiction.
Sarah acts for families of children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities but she also provides support to litigation Solicitors and case managers where difficulties concerning education and community care arise in their cases. She is instructed by professional deputies in relation to securing statutory funding for their clients and has also been instructed by a number of schools and colleges for advice around SEN and discrimination issues concerning pupils.
Sarah has been consistently identified as a key lawyer in Legal 500 rankings and the Education Team are ranked as Top Tier. They are also ranked in Chambers and Partners' 2023 guide.
In addition to her paid work, Sarah works with a number of charities across the country providing support for those with disabilities and special needs. She was a trustee of Northeast Special Needs Network which merged with Skills for People in 2017. She remains on the Board of Skills for People which provide much needed support to those with disabilities throughout the Northeast. She has previously contributed to a range of specialist publications including the Education Law Journal.
Interests outside of work
Sarah has a young family including two children and a very spoiled dog which keep her busy throughout the day and night when she is not working. She will be quite often found walking along the coast or in her local woods with all of them regardless of the weather conditions.
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