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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 Torfaen

Our special educational needs (SEN) solicitors help many parents and young people within Torfaen County Council and the surrounding areas in all aspects of education law and obtaining funding from the Local Authority for additional support and specialist placements.

We have provided expert education law advice in Torfaen for many years in order to secure special educational needs support for children, young people and families. The specialist education law solicitor team have dealt with Torfaen 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 Torfaen?

Special educational needs are 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
  • hearing and/or visual impairment
  • behavioural issues
  • literacy and numeracy skills
  • social skills
  • communication and/or language impairment
  • anxiety

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 likely have special educational needs. This would also include a recognised disability under the Equality Act 2010.

If you are unsure as to whether your child or young person has special educational needs, you should seek specific legal advice from a specialist education law solicitor.

The City and County of Torfaen has their own policies, but also must comply with 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. That is often why parents in Torfaen seek special educational needs advice from us.

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

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

https://www.torfaen.gov.uk/en/EducationLearning/Specialeducationalneeds(SEN)/SpecialEducationalNeeds.aspx

It is always advisable for parents to make sure that they focus on the Special Educational Needs Code of Practice and current legislation, rather than Torfaen 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 Torfaen?

The school hopefully would identify that a child or young person has special educational needs. When this happens, the class teacher and Additional Learning Needs Coordinator (ALNCo), will plan and arrange additional support from its own budget and resources.

If the school does not identify a pupil as having special educational needs, it may be necessary to seek a statutory assessment of their special educational needs from Torfaen 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 may be needed. The school should discuss with the child, young person and their parents/ guardian requesting an assessment. 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 Torfaen?

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

https://www.torfaen.gov.uk/en/EducationLearning/Specialeducationalneeds(SEN)/Statutory-Assessment/Statutory-Assessment.aspx

This can be a helpful guide to know how to qualify for a Statement of SEN in Torfaen. However, it is important to know that the Local Education Authority must comply with legal duties, as well as operating its own policies.

Before a Statement of SEN can be issued, Torfaen County Council must make a statutory assessment.

At the conclusion of the assessment, Torfaen County Council will decide whether a Statement of SEN is necessary based on legal criteria it is bound by; not just its own policies.

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 from its own resources.

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

Where can I find SEN legal advice in Torfaen?

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

We have helped in the following ways:

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

 

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