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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 West Cheshire

Our specialist education law solicitors have experience of working across the country. We have helped many parents and young people in West Cheshire. We have provided expert education law advice in West Cheshire to secure special educational needs support for several children, young people and families.

What are Special Educational Needs in West Cheshire?

Special educational needs are any difficulty a child or young person has in accessing education. Special educational needs (SEN) affect how a person learns.

Special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) can affect a child or young person’s ability to learn. They can affect their:

  • behaviour or ability to socialise, for example they struggle to make friends
  • reading and writing, for example because they have dyslexia
  • ability to understand things
  • concentration levels, for example because they have ADHD
  • physical ability

In England, special educational needs are defined by the Children and Families Act 2014.

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.

If you are not sure whether your child or young person has special educational needs, you should seek specific legal advice.

West Cheshire 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 West Cheshire seek special educational needs advice from us.

West Cheshire’s SEN policies and guidance can be found here:

https://www.cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk/residents/education-and-learning/special-educational-needs.aspx

We would always advise parents to make sure that they focus on the Special Educational needs Code of Practice, rather than West Cheshire’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 West Cheshire?

West Cheshire’s special educational needs team have prepared a Local Offer. The Local Offer explains what support is available for special educational needs in West Cheshire. The Local Offer can be found here:

http://www.westcheshirelocaloffer.co.uk/kb5/cheshirewestandchester/directory/home.page

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 West Cheshire?

The guidance for securing an EHC needs assessment and EHCP in West Cheshire can be found here:

http://www.westcheshirelocaloffer.co.uk/kb5/cheshirewestandchester/directory/advice.page?id=Hw_cdgwMgq4

This can be a helpful guide to know how to qualify for an EHCP in West Cheshire. However, it is important to know that the local authority must comply with legal duties, as well as operating its own policies.

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 West Cheshire?

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

 

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