Special Educational Needs
It is imperative that children and young people with identified special educational needs are provided with support. Some may have Statements of Special Educational Needs (SEN) which outline what support they need or separate assessments identifying their specific learning or physical disabilities.
Since the inception of The Children and Families Act 2014, there is now a new assessment process (0 – 25) which leads to a single and integrated plan – the Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP). An Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP) is a legal document (between the child and the Local Authority) which must set out a detailed description of your child's needs and what provision is required in order to meet those needs.
The following people have a right to request an education, health and care needs assessment for a child or young person aged between 0 and 25 by writing to the Local Authority:
- the child's parent
- a young person over the age of 16 but under the age of 25
- a person acting on behalf of a school or post-16 institution (with the knowledge and agreement of the parent or young person where possible)
A parent and/or the school can make a request to the Local Authority for an education health and care assessment. This is how the process generally works:
- The Local Authority has 6 weeks to respond from the date of the request of the assessment as to whether to conduct an assessment
- If so, the entire process should take a maximum of 20 weeks from the date of the request to receipt of an EHCP
- If the Local Authority decides not to carry out an assessment of the child or indeed does not issue an EHCP, the parent will have a right of appeal to First Tier (Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND).
There are additional timescales which must be adhered to by the Local Authority and the views of the child/young person and/or parent must be sought throughout.
Appealing to SEND
Parents will have 2 months to appeal to SEND from the date of the decision of the Local Authority. The Tribunal is a specialist forum which can look at:
- The refusal to conduct an EHC needs assessment.
- The refusal to issue an EHCP
- The refusal to reassess your child / young person (CYP).
- The description the child or young person’s special educational needs (SEN).
- The provision require and whether it is specific and/or quantified within the EHCP
- The name of the school in the EHCP
- The decision to cease to maintain the EHCP
Mediation is now considered a step which parties should strongly consider entering into with each other prior to lodging the appeal and this should be done within two months from the date of the decision but be aware of the deadline to appeal which does not stop.
Match Solicitors are experts and have a highly experienced team in dealing with and assisting young people and parents whose children have Special Educational Needs (SEN). The team has enjoyed a very high success rate in bringing cases to an amicable resolution.
98% of our Appeals settle before a final hearing
We have expertise in:
- Requesting education, health and care assessments
- Overseeing the entire statementing process
- Achieving positive outcomes on school places for children with SEN
- Ensuring the correct provision is put in place for the child
- Assisting parents with appeals to SEND and the Upper Tribunal
We can assist with the whole process by:
- Instructing independent experts
- Instructing specialist Barristers
- Drafting key documents
- Preparing cases to a full hearing
- Providing specialist advice resulting in negotiations that lead to settlement
- Challenging Local Authorities to compel them to pay for specialist residential schools and to provide extensive provision to children commensurate to their needs.
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