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Education Law

Expert Education Law advice courtesy of the dedicated team of nationally respected specialist lawyers at HCB.

  • Comprehensive advice on all aspects of education law
  • Proven expertise in special educational needs and higher education law

SEND in England

If you feel your child is not making the progress they should be, or they are struggling to keep up, they may have special educational needs.

If you think that your child has special educational needs (SEN) then you can ask their school to provide extra help. This is called ‘SEN support’.

Your child’s teacher will liaise with the Special Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO) at the school who will take responsibility for planning and monitoring the additional help. The teachers will be responsible for providing the learning under the plan and additional support staff or external specialists may also be engaged to assist in meeting your child’s special educational needs.

Special educational needs support in schools normally starts using the Assess, Plan, Do, Review model.

The assistance will vary depending on the circumstances, but could include one-on-one or small group work; special learning materials and social skills exercises.

You will be involved in agreeing the targets for the programme, and you should be clear on the support that is being provided, by whom and how the progress will be monitored and evaluated. You should be updated a minimum of three times each year.

If your child has severe or complex needs that SEN support cannot meet, or the measures implemented are not assisting he/she making expected progress, then your next step is to request an EHC needs assessment from the Local Authority to ascertain whether an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) is required.

EHCPs are designed to support children and young people with special educational needs. An EHCP is necessary if the school is not able to provide the support your child or young person requires without external assistance. 

The local authority may make decisions that you do not agree with. This can include:

  • A refusal to make an EHC needs assessment
  • A refusal to issue an EHCP following an EHC needs assessment
  • The content of an EHCP
  • The school named in an EHCP
  • Changes made to an EHCP after an Annual Review
  • A refusal to make a change to an EHCP after an Annual Review
  • Cease to maintain an Education Health and Care Plan

Each of the above decisions can be challenged to the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal.

If you have any questions or concerns about special educational needs, our specialist solicitors are here to help.