education lawyers

We get children with Special Educational Needs the support, provision and school they are entitled to with real positive results

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Joshua's Story

Joshua is an academically able, engaging, sociable and active child who also has severe dyslexia/specific learning difficulties and disordered language skills, in addition to fine motor difficulties and sensory processing difficulties. His literacy difficulties in particular are very severe and by the age of 10 he was still unable to read or write, despite his good underlying ability.

Joshua’s difficulties impact on all aspects of his life and profoundly impacted upon his education and attainment levels in respect of literacy and numeracy. Despite significant levels of extra literacy tuition and therapy input arranged privately by Joshua’s parents, in addition to his mainstream schooling, he was still failing to make progress, the gap between him and his peers was widening and he was becoming very disillusioned with school.  Joshua was acutely aware of his difficulties and of the difference between him and his mainstream peers. As a result of his entrenched literacy and language difficulties and his lack of progress in mainstream schooling he became increasingly withdrawn, unhappy and emotionally fragile.

It was clear to Joshua’s parents that he needed more intensive and specialist support, over and above what could be provided by his mainstream school.  His parents therefore requested that their Local Authority (LA) undertake a Statutory Assessment of Joshua’s needs. The LA agreed to this request and carried out that assessment

Whilst the Statutory Assessment was ongoing, and after considering and visiting the local state schools, Joshua’s parents made a decision to take him out of mainstream schooling and to fund a place for him at Frewen College, an independent specialist school for children with severe specific learning difficulties. In addition to his deteriorating emotional presentation and lack of progress, staff from the local mainstream state schools had advised Joshua’s parents that he did not have the literacy skills necessary to access a mainstream secondary curriculum and there were no appropriate state special schools catering for a bright child like Joshua with severe Dyslexia.

Following the completion of the Statutory Assessment the LA issued a Statement of Special Educational Needs for Joshua. However, the Statement did not properly record the nature or severity of Joshua’s difficulties and provided very little in terms of quantified specific provision. No direct specialist teaching for children with Dyslexia was provided and there was no provision for any therapeutic input.  The Statement named a mainstream school for Joshua, within a “nurture group” recently set up by the school, which the LA maintained would be able to offer him the additional support and provision he needed.  

It was necessary for Joshua’s parents to lodge an appeal to the SEND Tribunal against the contents of his Statement and they challenged the description of Joshua’s needs, the provision set out to meet Joshua’s needs and the school named by the LA. They believed that to receive an appropriate and adequate education, Joshua required placement at Frewen College and that the LA should therefore fund the placement for him.

Within the appeal process a number of expert reports had to be obtained to fully determine Joshua’s needs all of which supported a specialist school environment.  In response, the LA obtained additional reports of its own in light of its continuing stance.  On the day of the Tribunal hearing, the LA significantly changed its position in terms of the provision it believed Joshua required and increased the provision it was offering including speech and language therapy, occupational therapy and specialist dyslexia tuition.  The LA remained of the view that its mainstream school, with the additional provision it had now agreed, could meet Joshua’s needs.

The appeal was determined following a one day hearing before the SEND Tribunal in favour of Joshua’s parents. The Tribunal determined that the mainstream school named by the LA, even with additional levels of therapy and specialist teaching input belatedly agreed by the LA was not adequate and could not provide the “joined-up” integrated specialist input and therapy he needed. The Tribunal ordered the LA to amend Joshua’s Statement in relation to Parts 2, 3 and 4 and to name Fewen College thereby requiring the LA to fund Joshua’s placement there.

With funding having been secured, Joshua is now able to continue his education at Frewen College which is providing him with the provision, education and the peer group he needs.

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who we help

We work on behalf of children whose education is suffering for any number of reasons including a lack of appropriate support to meet their Special Educational Needs. Find out more about some of these needs and how you can ensure you get support for your child from the Local Authority using the Tribunal Process

the process

Education Lawyers help you through the legal process and paperwork meaning you can concentrate on caring for your child, looking forward to getting the right educational provision from your Local Authority and seeing real results . Click here to find out what the process entails and the timescales involved.

real results

Parents ask us for help when they have problems with their child’s education. We make a real difference and get children the educational support they need and are entitled to receive. Find out about some of our recent cases and what a positive difference has been made.

contact us

We work for clients in England and Wales and provide a personal and supportive service. Call us to talk about your situation in more detail and see how we can help.

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