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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 help in Kent

Our team of experienced special educational needs and disability (SEND) solicitors have experience of working across the country. We have helped many parents and young people in Kent.

We provide outstanding education law advice in Kent to secure special educational needs support for several children, young people and families. This can involve an appeal to the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal.

What are Special Educational Needs in Kent?

The term “special educational needs” has a specific legal meaning. It refers to any difficulty a pupil has in accessing education. Special educational needs (SEN) affect how a person learns. The needs can affect everything from:

  • behaviour
  • ability to understand
  • concentration levels
  • physical ability
  • hearing and/or visual impairment
  • reading
  • writing
  • social skills.

If a child or young person has difficulties in accessing teaching, or facilities at school, and requires support beyond that typically made for young people of the same age, they likely have special educational needs.

If you are not sure if your child would qualify for SEN support in Kent, you should seek specific legal advice.

Kent SEN teams operate under their own policies, but also must comply with the Children and Families Act 2014 and the SEND Code of Practice 2015. Whilst the law can be complicated, in our experience the policies can overly simplify the law and confuse quite complex rules. This can result in poor decision making. That is often why parents in Kent seek special educational needs advice from us.

If the Kent SEN team relies on policies exclusively, rather than the law, this can lead to difficulties. We have extensive experience of providing special educational needs advice in Kent. We have helped several families successfully appeal to SENDIST against decisions taken by Kent SEN team.

Kent’s SEN policies and guidance about securing additional SEN support can be found here:

http://www.kent.gov.uk/education-and-children/special-educational-needs/education-health-and-care-plans-ehcps#tab-1

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

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/398815/SEND_Code_of_Practice_January_2015.pdf

What is SEN Support in Kent?

The main website for SEN support in Kent can be found through its local offer. That can be found here:

http://www.kent.gov.uk/education-and-children/special-educational-needs

Normally, school will identify that a child or young person has special educational needs. When this happens, the class teacher and Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCo), will plan additional support. This follows a cycle called “Assess, Plan, Do, Review”.

If the school does not identify a pupil with special educational needs, it may be necessary to seek an EHC needs assessment of their special educational needs from the local authority.

The child, young person and their parents / guardian should be involved in discussions with the school about planning support for special educational needs. It is important to be aware that schools receive a specific amount of money – often called a Delegated Budget – to support children and young people with special educational needs. As the Delegated Budget is finite, this can often limit the amount of support that can be available unless the local authority makes an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP)

If the child or young person needs more support than the school can provide, an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP) may be needed. The school should discuss with the child, young person and their parents / guardian requesting an EHC needs assessment. It is very important to note that there is no requirement to try to cycle of Assess, Plan, Do, Review before seeking an EHC needs assessment or an Education Health and Care Plan.

How can I get an EHCP in Kent?

Before an EHCP can be issued, the local authority must make an EHC needs assessment.

At the conclusion of the EHC needs assessment, the local authority will decide whether an EHCP 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 an EHCP, you can appeal to the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal.

Where can I find SEN legal advice in Kent?

Our special education needs solicitors provide advice in Kent. To contact our specialist education lawyers, please call 02920 291 704

We have helped in the following ways:

  • securing an EHC needs assessment in Kent
  • securing an EHCP in Kent
  • Successful appeals to Tribunal against Kent’s refusal to make an EHCP
  • Successful appeals to Tribunal against Kent’s refusal to make an EHC needs assessment
  • Successfully appealing to Tribunal against Kent for additional support
  • Successfully appealing to Tribunal against Kent for specialist school places
  • Successfully appealing against a decision by Kent to cease to maintain an EHCP

 

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