Special Educational Needs Law

Finlay's Story

Families with children or young adults who have special educational needs (SEN) and disabilities can face challenges accessing much needed support. Some find it difficult just to get information about their rights and entitlements. Even the language of SEN can be hard to follow. Access Legal can assist families facing these problems.

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The importance placed on obtaining a first class education is ever increasing. For some parents and carers though, it can be tough even to have their child's special needs understood and recognised.

Access Legal's experts in education law give practical advice to make securing SEN provision easier. We also provide Tribunal representation for parents who need to appeal against Local Authority decisions. Whether a child's condition is congenital, or caused by an injury suffered at or following birth, we offer a full range of education and social care advice covering:

  • Statements of Special Educational Needs & Education, Health and Care plans, including appeals against the content and placement to the Special Educational Needs Tribunal
  • The new system brought in from 1 September 2014 by the Children and Families Act 2014   
  • Securing a range of educational provision and placements, including mainstream school and college placements for children and young people with complex and significant needs, SEN provision including home based education packages and special independent school and college placements.
  • Failure to provide special educational provision, as set out in a child or young person's Statement or Plan
  • Specific issues for young people, up to 25 years, accessing education in further education colleges or independent specialist colleges
  • Social care assessments and getting what you and your child/young person are entitled to
  • Home to school/college transport  

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I want to know

How can my case be funded?

When you first contact us we will discuss, without commitment on your part, the details of your case, your rights, how we can help and the cost of any advice and assistance we suggest we provide. This includes advice on any practical steps that you can take yourself before needing to get a solicitor involved. We'll give you a clear idea of what to do and how much it might cost.

Our clients either privately fund their case or sometimes have it funded through a current medical negligence/personal injury claim they have for their child. We offer a range of fixed and agreed fees packages to enable our clients to budget. We are always open and transparent about our fees and tailor our pricing to suit the particular family.

Access Legal focuses on settling cases at an early stage, wherever possible, and even where we quote a fixed/agreed fee we will only charge you for the actual hours worked if that is less than we estimated.

We do not offer public funding (legal aid). Should you require this please call the Civil Legal Aid line on 0845 345 4345.

How to get changes to my child's Statement or Plan?

Many parents approach us when they are trying to secure amendments to their child's SEN Statement or EHC plan, particularly increased provision or a different school place. There are a number of ways to do this including negotiating with your Local Authority, supporting and advising through your child's annual review, assisting when your child's Statement goes through the transfer process to an Education, Health and Care plan or through an appeal to the SEN Tribunal.

Access Legal have expertise in complex cases and assisting clients through Tribunal appeals to secure additional therapies and a change in school/college place, including for independent specialist placements.

Our education solicitors discuss each client's situation, what they hope to achieve and then advise them on the best way to proceed. We are transparent about the costs for our advice and always focus on negotiating where possible, as this can resolve issues more quickly, as well as being more cost effective. Please do not hesitate to call us to discuss your concerns around education and associated provision.

More about SEN and Education Law

Access Legal has expertise in all the aspects of education law that a family might need, especially special educational needs law. Our expertise is grounded by our practical experience of working with families facing wide-ranging and complex disabilities, including autism, cerebral palsy, Down's syndrome, dyslexia, dyspraxia, hearing and visual impairments, emotional and behavioural difficulties and generalised learning delay.

Many children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities need extra support at school, and sometimes a different school or college place, including, for some, independent specialist placements. This has been provided through a Statement of Special Educational Needs ('Statement'), now supplanted by an Education, Health and Care plan ('EHC plan').

The law on SEN changed on 1 September 2014 with the introduction of the Children and Families Act 2014. As a result all children currently with a Statement should be transferred to a new EHC plan by April 2018. We can help you through this transfer procedure to obtain full recognition of your child's needs.

A large part of our time is spent assisting parents through a Special Educational Needs Tribunal appeal, often for increased support and/or a change in their child's placement. Access Legal have considerable expertise in this work and the important overlap between education, health and social services.

We are one of the few firms with specialists in education law who have real understanding and experience of helping families with children in need of support and the associated practical issues for young people, aged 16 - 25 years.

What does the Children and Families Act 2014 mean for my child?

If your child has a Statement of Special Educational Needs they should be transferred to an Education, Health and Care plan by 1 April 2018. There is a specific process that this transfer must follow. We are receiving a lot of enquiries from across England as this process is not always being carried out as it should. If you think you are affected do contact us to discuss this in further detail.

If your child has never had additional help or support at school but you believe they need it then they may be entitled to an Education, Health and Care plan. This is a legal document that should thoroughly describe your child, detail the support needed to meet their special educational needs and the educational placement that is suitable for them. It must include not only education information but also any health and social care needs and support.

There are several new provisions brought in by this Act, including the right to a plan up to 25 years of age where a Statement previously only went up to 19 years of age, introduction of personal budgets in education and a real focus on the views and wishes of the child/young person and their family being taken into account.

Getting the right SEN support for Leo

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Getting the right SEN support for Leo

Michelle and Johnathan Bouzaglo's autistic son Leo was scheduled to start primary school in September 2014. They were concerned that, while their local authority had said they were starting the statementing process for Leo, things didn’t seem to be moving forward and they weren't entirely sure if he would have the protection of a Statement of Special Educational Needs.

Read about how Access Legal helped ensure Leo got the care he needed with our case study.

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Education Law Case Study

Unlocking Potential

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Claimants college placement funded after local authorities decision challenged

Finlay Mudge has severe bilateral optic atrophy. What others can see at a distance of 60 metres, he can barely discern at three and is registered blind. Finlay had been educated in a small independent primary school with the LEA funding the support and additional materials and resources he required to work on the curriculum in exactly the same way as his classmates.

Local authorities decided that for secondary school education, Finlay would be sent to a local academy. Finlay would have some of the support he needed.

Read how Access Legal ensured that Finlay's case was over turned at a tribunal here.
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"Thanks so much for everything you've done for our family. Without your help Leo would not have the education he needs. We are truly grateful."

by The Bouzaglo family

Our Experts

"Thanks so much for everything you've done for our family. Without your help Leo would not have the education he needs. We are truly grateful."

by The Bouzaglo family

Education Law

If your child has Special Educational Needs, Access Legal's dedicated and experienced team provide expert advice and assistance about their current and future provision, where you stand and options to consider.

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