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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

Special Educational Needs in Gwynedd

HCB Solicitors has a team of highly specialist additional learning needs solicitors who assist families in disputes with their Local Authority, which includes Gwynedd County Council. Our special education needs (SEN) solicitors have helped many parents and young people in Gwynedd and have experience of working throughout Wales.

We have provided expert education law advice in Gwynedd to secure special educational needs support for several children, young people and families. The specialist education law solicitors have dealt with Gwynedd County Council on numerous matters. This can often involve an appeal being made to the Special Educational Needs Tribunal for Wales.

What are Special Educational Needs in Gwynedd?

Special educational needs can be regarded as any difficulty a child or young person has in accessing education. Special educational needs (SEN) affect how a person learns. The needs can affect everything from:

  • physical ability
  • concentration levels
  • ability to understand
  • sensory issues
  • hearing and/or visual impairment
  • behaviour
  • literacy and/or numeracy
  • language ability
  • social and/or communication skills

If a child or young person has difficulties in accessing school, education, or facilities at school and requires support beyond that typically made for young people of the same age, they will often be regarded as having special educational needs.

If you are not sure whether your child or young person has special educational needs, you should seek specific legal advice from a specialist education law solicitor. HCB Solicitors has a specialist team on hand to assist, given their substantial experience in helping parents across the region and UK, as a whole.

Gwynedd County Council has their own policies, but also must comply with the relevant legislation, being the Education Law 1996 and the SEN Code of Practice for Wales. Whilst the law can be complicated, in our experience the policies can over-simplify the law and confuse quite complex rules. This can result in poor decision making and bad decisions being made that require challenge. That is often why parents in Gwynedd seek special educational needs advice from us.

If the SEN Department in Gwynedd Local Education Authority relies on policies exclusively, rather than the law, this can lead to disputes arising and we have helped several families successfully appeal to SENTW against decisions taken by Gwynedd County Council SEN team.

Gwynedd’s SEN policies and guidance can be found here:

https://www.gwynedd.llyw.cymru/en/Residents/Schools-and-learning/AdditionalLearningNeeds.aspx

We would always advise parents to make sure that they focus on the Special Educational Needs Code of Practice and current legislation, rather than Gwynedd Council’s SEN policies only. The SEN Code of Practice can be found here:

http://learning.gov.wales/docs/learningwales/publications/131016-sen-code-of-practice-for-wales-en.pdf

What is SEN Support in Gwynedd?

The school hopefully would identify that a child or young person has special educational needs and assess their progress levels regularly. When this happens, the class teacher and Additional Learning Needs Coordinator (ALNCo), will plan additional support that will consist of special education provision from within the school’s own budget and resources.

If the school does not identify a pupil with special educational needs, it may be necessary to secure a statutory assessment of their special educational needs from Gwynedd County Council. Our specialist team of education law solicitors can assist with this.

If the child or young person needs more support than the school can provide, a Statement of SEN will be required that is specific in relation to the support that will be delivered.

 It is very important to note that there is no requirement to try the graduated response of School Action or School Action Plus before seeking a statutory assessment or a Statement of SEN.

How can I get a Statement in Gwynedd?

The guidance for securing a statutory assessment and Statement of Special Educational Needs in Gwynedd can be found here:

https://www.gwynedd.llyw.cymru/en/Residents/Schools-and-learning/Special-educational-needs.aspx

This is a guide to know how to qualify for a Statement of SEN in Gwynedd. However, it is important to know that the Local Education Authority must comply with legal duties, as well as operating its own policies; this is unfortunately often over-looked.

Before a Statement of SEN can be issued, Gwynedd County Council must make a statutory assessment and at the conclusion of the assessment, Gwynedd County Council will decide whether a Statement of SEN is necessary.

The term “necessary” has been the focus of much litigation. It means that the Local Authority must consider the subjective needs of the child or young person, the special educational provision that they need and whether it is reasonably likely that a mainstream school can deliver that support.

If the local authority refuses to make and maintain a Statement to cater for the child’s additional learning needs, parents can appeal to the Special Educational Needs Tribunal for Wales.

Where can I find SEN legal advice in Gwynedd?

Our special education needs solicitors provide advice in Gwynedd. To contact our specialist education lawyers, please call 02920 291 704 or email education@hcbgroup.com

We have helped in the following ways:

  • Formally requesting a statutory assessment from Gwynedd County Council
  • Successful appeals to Tribunal against Gwynedd’s refusal to issue a Statement of SEN
  • Successful appeals to Tribunal against Gwynedd’s refusal to conduct a statutory assessment
  • Successfully appealing to Tribunal against Gwynedd for additional support, therapy and provision
  • Successfully appealing to Tribunal against Gwynedd for specialist and/or independent school placements

 

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