If your child has been issued an EHCP but you feel that their school is not doing enough to adhere to the recommendations contained within it, you do have the opportunity to go to the High Court for a Judicial Review against the Local Authority to address the matter. This is because the implementation of the provision set out in an EHCP is the responsibility of the Local Authority. If a school is not doing enough or not coping, it may be that the school is not the best suited school to cater for your child’s needs.
A little background...
Under the law, mainstream state schools are responsible for making sure that pupils with special needs or disabilities have their needs met, if they possibly can. This includes pupils with conditions such as autism, ADHD and dyslexia, as well as other behavioural and physical impairments. However, if a mainstream school cannot meet a child's needs, Local Authorities are obliged to offer the child or young person in question an alternative.
The creation of The Children and Families Act in 2014 saw the introduction of a new system of assessment for young people aged from 0 to 25 years old. This legislation led to the creation of an integrated care plan — the Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP). An EHCP is a legally binding agreement between the Local Authority and the child or young person with special educational needs, setting out a thorough and detailed description of precisely what the child in question needs and what must be provided within the child's school to make sure that their specific needs are met.
As any parent of a child with special educational needs is only too aware, it if often an enormous challenge to ensure that their child’s needs are met. Once a school — whether it is a mainstream school or a special independent school — has agreed to meet a child's needs, you as a parent can reasonably expect that they will:
- Make sure that your child is receiving full, dedicated support during lessons
- Keep in regular contact with you about your child's progress
- Provide regular advice with regards to what action if any you can take to help with your child's education
- Provide full and continuous monitoring of your child's progress or lack thereof
What happens when things don't go according to plan?
In most cases, once an EHCP has been provided and a child or young person has enrolled in an appropriate school, the school in question meets that pupil's needs and there is no need for complaint or further action. However, on occasion, despite the legal obligation the school has, it fails to adhere to the guidelines of the EHCP.
In these cases, parents have the right to go to the High Court for a Judicial Review against the Local Authority however before contemplating such a step, it is important to seek legal advice if you find yourself in a similar situation. It is important to give the Local Authority an opportunity to rectify the situation and/or to discuss the possibility of whether your child is actually in the best school to cater for his/her needs. If not, it may be that you need to request an urgent review of the EHCP to discuss this issue further.
At Match Solicitors, with our comprehensive knowledge, expertise and experience in education law, we can provide you with all the assistance you need to make sure that you are well prepared.
Please contact us at your earliest convenience to discuss your child's situation in confidence.