Special educational needs and disability (SEND) case study
My clients are the parents of an 8-year-old child A, who has various special educational needs including autism and a language disorder. My clients have made 3 requests to their Local Authority (LA) over the last year and a half to carry out an Education Health and Care assessment (EHC assessment) for their child.
This is because the support they need at school cannot be provided by school without extra training, funding and resources and my clients are currently having to privately fund direct therapy (speech and language therapy) which is not a long-term solution. It may also be the case that a change of school placement would be better suited to their needs. A will be unable to access what they need, including potentially a more appropriate school, without an EHC assessment followed by the LA granting them an Education Health and Care Plan.
The LA have refused all 3 requests to assess, despite A meeting the legal test for assessment under the Children and Families Act 2014.
How did we help?
We made an application to the Special Educational Needs Tribunal (SENDIST) to appeal the last refusal to assess. Our application was clear on why A met (and had always met) the legal test, attached the medical and educational evidence of their needs and made clear that all this information had been available to the LA prior to the appeal despite the LA’s refusal to assess.
The LA were due to file a reply to the claim on 23 November 2021. On 16 November 2021 the LA wrote to the Tribunal confirming they would not be defending the appeal and they would now be carrying out an EHC assessment. This is an important win for my clients who do not now have to await the outcome of the Tribunal hearing in a number of months, they do not have to incur further legal fees and most importantly, the LA will now commence the assessment their child has needed for a long time in order that they get the support they need to achieve their best outcomes.
Gateley Plc is authorised and regulated by the SRA (Solicitors' Regulation Authority). Please visit the SRA website for details of the professional conduct rules which Gateley Legal must comply with.