Education Legal services for Families, in particular, Special Educational Needs & Disability
Education Lawyers

Matthew’s new school will support his potential

Matthew’s parents came to us after they had experienced repeated refusals from their local authority to get him the education he desperately needed.

Matthew is academically able but has severe dyslexia as well as specific learning difficulties, autism and associated issues. He was becoming increasingly aware of his difficulties, which had significantly affected his self-esteem and self-confidence, making him reluctant to attend his mainstream primary school.

The support he received at school was limited. Matthew’s parents said despite having expressed concerns to the school about his difficulties and his lack of progress, there hadn’t been much input. He had become emotionally fragile and vulnerable because his needs were not being met.

Three appeals to the SEND Tribunal

Despite Matthew’s obvious difficulties, his parents had to pursue three appeals to the SEND Tribunal.

  1. An appeal against the LA’s refusal to undertake a statutory assessment. This was despite Matthew’s parents’ request for a statutory assessment being supported by his mainstream school. The appeal was lodged but shortly before the hearing, the local authority conceded the appeal and agreed to undertake a statutory assessment.
  2. The LA then refused to issue an EHC Plan. Matthew’s parents again appealed to the SEND Tribunal. Once again the LA conceded the appeal shortly before the hearing.
  3. When the Final Plan was issued, it named a mainstream primary school with the intention of transferring to a maintained mainstream secondary school with a specialist ASD unit at the start of the next academic year. Matthew’s parents visited the unit but were concerned that the other students displayed behaviour that Matthew would find distressing. They did not think the unit had the specialist provision to address all of Matthew’s difficulties. As a result, they felt that Matthew wouldn’t be able to cope either in the unit or attending mainstream lessons within the main school. We supported the family to have his Plan amended in relation to Sections B, F and I. They sought to have a specialist school for pupils with specific learning difficulties named.

Matthew’s new school can support his potential

Matthew was clearly not achieving his potential in his mainstream primary school. He’d made limited progress because of his dyslexia, dyspraxia, dyscalculia, ASD, and ADHD. His Attention Deficit Disorder caused phonological processing difficulties, problems with producing written work and handwriting, pragmatic language difficulties, expressive and receptive language impairment, poor attention and concentration, low self-esteem, anxiety, frustration resulting in temper tantrums, social isolation and an increasing reluctance to attend school.

His parents knew he needed to attend a more suitable school environment where specialist teaching would be available. He also needed direct therapeutic input to address his speech, language, communication, sensory and motor needs within a low arousal setting with small classes.

Within the appeal process, a number of independent expert reports had to be obtained to fully explore Matthew’s needs all of which supported a specialist school environment and which provided a better understanding of Matthew’s difficulties.

The appeal was determined following a one day hearing before the SEND Tribunal (SENDIST) in favour of Matthew’s parents. The judge ordered the LA to amend Matthew’s Plan in relation to Sections B, F and I and to name Northease Manor School, requiring the LA to fund the placement. SENDIST also ordered the provision of direct occupational therapy and direct speech and language therapy.

Matthew has taken up his place at Northease Manor School.

“Matthew has settled very well into Northease, he has made friends and is popular with staff. It is lovely to see him go off to school so happily rather than the traumas of the previous school!

We very much appreciate the expertise of all the staff at Langley Wellington and would not have achieved the placement without their help.”

Matthew’s parents

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