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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

How to get a Statement of Educational Needs

If a child or young person has special educational needs, they may need the additional support of a Statement of Special Educational Needs. A Statement of Special Educational Needs is only available in Wales. In England they have been replaced by Education Health and Care Plans.

A Statement of Special Educational Needs is a legally binding document which sets out the child or young person’s special educational needs, the provision they require and the educational placement they should attend. The Statement should be detailed and contain specific information about the support that should be delivered. In our experience, the vast majority of Statements that are prepared do not contain sufficient detail about the provision or support that is needed.

Before a Statement of Special Educational Needs can be issued, the local authority must make a Statutory Assessment of the child or young person. At the conclusion of the Statutory Assessment, the local authority will decide whether the child or young person needs a Statement of Special Educational Needs,

In deciding whether a Statement of Special Educational Needs is “necessary”, the local authority must consider the needs of the child or young person, the special educational provision that they require and whether it is reasonably likely that a mainstream school can deliver that support.

Your Local Authority is required to respond to your request for a Statutory Assessment within six weeks. If it agrees that one should be undertaken, then it must be completed within ten weeks, in accordance with the Education (Special Educational Needs) (Wales) Regulations 2002.

At approximately 17 to 18 weeks after making the original request for a Statutory Assessment, the Local Authority, if it has decided to do so, should serve you with a copy of the draft special educational needs statement. At this point they will collate all the information in their possession and set out the support they deem necessary for your child. The draft copy is called the ‘Proposed Statement’. The final statement will be issued anything from 1 to 7 weeks later, depending on whether you wish to contest it.

Local authorities often apply policies rather than the law when deciding whether or not to make an Statement of Special Educational Needs. This can mean that decisions are based on the policies rather than the law. Often, this means that children or young people that need, and are entitled to a Statement of Special Educational Needs are refused one. This is when it is necessary to appeal to the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal for Wales.

If you are planning to apply for a Statement of Special Educational Needs, or are facing difficulties in securing a Statement of Special Educational Needs, it can be helpful to secure advice on special educational needs law.

 

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