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University Strikes November 2022 - your rights as a student

Sophie Jenkins
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The University and College Union (“UCU”) has announced that university staff will strike on the 24th, 25th and 30th November 2022 over pay, pensions and working conditions. The strikes will take place at 150 universities across the UK, with an...

New admissions appeal code - October 2022

Robert Slade
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As a parent, you can express a preference about which school your child attends. The Local Authority must comply with that preference, unless certain exemptions apply. If you are not happy with the decision made by the admissions authority, you can then look...

PhD disputes - getting support as a student

Robert Slade
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As higher education specialists, we have helped many PhD students deal with a variety of issues that they face on the many years that they spend on their PhD. Whether this is issues with supervision, with intellectual property rights or disputes over...

School Exclusions & Social Media

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Offensive videos of teachers and pupils are now circulating social media platforms such as TikTok, and subsequently, we are seeing an increasing number of both fixed term and permanent exclusions as a result. This is now a widely reported issue, becoming...

A-Level Results 2022

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As A-Level results day 2022 draws closer, thousands of students across the country anxiously await their exam results. Understandably, this is a nerve-wracking and emotional time for both students and their families. If your A-Level results are not as...

School Exclusion Guidance Updates 2022

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Our specialist education lawyers receive regular enquiries from parents who wish to challenge the decision of a school to permanently exclude their child. Our solicitors appreciate the concerns that parents have regarding the effect of an exclusion, whether...

How have Special Educational Statistics Changed 2021/2022?

Holly Blacklaws
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How have Special Educational Statistics Changed in England in the Academic Year 2021/2022? The Government have recently released the latest annual statistics regarding Pupils in England with Special Educational Needs and Education Health and Care Plans....

Education, Health and Care Plans - The latest statistics

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The Department for Education has published its most recent statistical data regarding Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs), for 2021. We've summarised below some of the key findings: EHCPs The number of children and young people with EHCPs ...

University Complaints reach all time high

Robert Slade
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Earlier this week, the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (“OIA”) announced in their annual report that complaints they had received from students in England and Wales about their university courses had reached an all-time high, with over a...

Primary School Admissions Appeals

Robert Slade
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- Challenging your child’s school place The impact that a child’s school can have on their education cannot be understated. The right school, the right teacher and the right environment can make all the difference in allowing your child to...

What is the Down Syndrome Bill?

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The Down Syndrome Bill was introduced in Parliament as a Private Member’s Bill. It has now completed its parliamentary passage and is due to receive Royal Assent soon, but what does this all mean? A Bill is draft legislation that only becomes law if...

SEND Review Green Paper

Ed Duff
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On 29 March 2022, the Government published a Green Paper entitled “SEND Review; Right Support, Right Place, Right Time”.  This article will be sent, in full, to the Department for Education via the consultation email address.  We have...

31 March EHCP deadline for transition to Post-16 placements in September 2022

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We answer frequently asked questions on this deadline, process and appeals. What is the 31 March deadline?    Local Authorities must issue Final Amended EHCPs for children who are due to transition to a Post-16 placement in September 2022, by 31...

EHCP Deadline for post 16 placements

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31st March – a key date for young people with EHCPs who are due to transition to post 16 placements in September 2022 The 31st March is the statutory deadline by which time a young person should have received their final amended Education, Health...

R (L, M and P) v Devon County Council [2022]

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LONG AWAITED JUDGEMENT PROVIDES CLARITY REGARDING ANNUAL REVIEW TIMESCALES FOR LOCAL AUTHORITIES R (L, M AND P) V DEVON CITY COUNCIL [2022] EWHC 493 (Admin) This landmark decision provides welcome confirmation of the timescale that each local authority...

Secondary School Admissions appeals 2022

Robert Slade
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The transition from primary to secondary school should be an exciting opportunity for children and their parents. However, for those who have been refused their chosen school it can instead be a stressful experience. Fortunately, there is a procedure in...

University disputes - your rights as a student

Robert Slade
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Your time in university should hopefully be a rewarding and fulfilling experience which lets you develop the skills you need for later in life. However, there are many examples of things that can go wrong. You could face issues with the faculty, the course...

Beyond Crisis?

Amy Ridgeway
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A recent article published by the BBC suggests Support for pupils who have special needs is "beyond crisis".  https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-58474416 The article details how a resounding 97% of those who took part in a survey...

A-levels and GCSEs procedure 2021

Robert Slade
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Results day, mitigating circumstances and appealing grades. As the classes of 2021 gets ready for their results to be issued, this has been a trying and stressful time for students and their parents. The uncertainty and doubt surrounding this process is...

National Trial to Continue

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Recently the Department of Education confirmed that the extended powers given to the Special Educational Needs Tribunal to make non-binding recommendations regarding the health and social care aspects of an Education health and care plan would continue...

Fitness to Practise

Robert Slade
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If you are a university student involved in a professional course, you’ve likely been told about fitness to practise. Most professional bodies (like the GMC and the HCPC) make fitness to practise a requirement for anyone looking to register to...

Office of Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education

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As the official website for the OIA states, 1,967 complaints were made to the OIA by students in 2018. However, only 4% of these complaints were declared ‘justified’. The complaints procedure adopted by the OIA is a relatively clear process; so...

Specification within an EHCP - "When enough is enough"

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London Borough of Redbridge v H O (SEN): [2020] UKUT 323 (AAC) Specification within an EHCP - “When enough is enough”   This recent appeal was brought by the Local Authority in respect of the level of specificity to be included within an...

How Will the Third Lockdown Affect Children and Young People with Special Educational Needs, in England and Wales?

Holly Blacklaws
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Following the respect announcements of a third lockdown for both Wales and England, and the subsequent announcement that schools would be closed to most pupils, the Governments have issued amended legislation and updated guidance as to how this will affect...

School Exclusion - 2020 update

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Our Specialist Education Lawyers receive calls on a regular basis from parents following a decision by a school to permanently exclude their child. Our expert education solicitors appreciate the concerns that parents have regarding the effect that the...

GCSE and A Level Results - How can I appeal my results?

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GCSE AND A LEVEL RESULTS: HOW CAN I APPEAL MY RESULTS? The collection of A-Level results and GCSE results are usually a difficult, emotional and trying time for any student. However, this year, students have been collecting their A-level results for exams...

Prospective University Students - To Accept Or Defer?

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  The coronavirus pandemic has affected all aspects of our day-to-day lives and this has particularly affected university students.  The effect spans out to prospective students, current students and those students who are due to graduate this...

University Fees & Student Finance - Coronavirus (Covid-19)

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  There are many current and prospective students across the UK who will have a variety of questions regarding tuition fees and student finance following the outbreak of COVID-19.  Our university solicitors have considered the current position,...

Universities and Coronavirus (COVID-19)

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The coronavirus (COVID-19) has resulted in a state of lockdown throughout the world; which applies to universities throughout the UK. The pandemic has had a significant impact on every aspect of our day-to-day lives. Our university solicitors appreciate that...

Coronavirus and Independent School Fees

Rob Price
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We are now nearly three weeks into the Government’s lockdown measures due to the Coronavirus and we have all had to adjust our lives significantly.  The education landscape has changed dramatically in that time with school closures across the...

Coronavirus Bill

Holly Blacklaws
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It has been announced today that the Government will be introducing a Corona Virus Bill. The Bill is designed to ease the burden on front line staff and make amendments to the education arrangements currently in place in England and Wales. This Bill, if...

What Coronoavirus (COVID-19) means for your child with Special Educational Needs

Ffion Davies
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The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has officially announced that schools across the United Kingdom are to close indefinitely in an effort to curb the increasing spread of coronavirus. The decision came hours after Wales announced their own blanket school...

COVID-19 - GCSE and A Level Examinations

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The Prime Minster has confirmed that examinations in May and June will not be taking place due to school closures following COVID-19. Mr Johnson claims that assurances will be given to make sure that students get the qualifications they need. Students have...

House of Commons Education Committee - Special educational needs and disabilities - First Report of Session 2019-20

Ffion Davies
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  In 2014, Parliament legislated with the intention of transforming the educational experiences of children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities. The Children and Families Bill sought to place young people at the heart of...

Children in prison twice as likely to have special needs

Ffion Davies
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A recent article published by The Independent states that children in prison are twice as like to have special needs. Data from the Ministry of Justice reveals 30 per cent of children who entered custody over 2018-19 were assessed as having special...

New exclusions powers

Ffion Davies
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It has often been reported within the media that children and young people with Special Educational Needs are at significantly greater risk of facing exclusion if they Special Educational Needs. A case was brought to the Special Educational Needs Tribunal,...

Ofsted inspections for top-rated schools to be reinstated

Ffion Davies
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Since 2012, once rated outstanding, English schools have been exempt form routine inspections to free them from external intervention. However, the Department of Education has recently announced the reintroduction of inspections of top-rated schools to...

University - Complaints

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Students spend significant sums of money time and effort studying at University. As such, seeking assistance from a university solicitor is integral to raising a valid complaint and increasing your chance of a successful outcome.   Record numbers...

University - Academic Appeal Advice

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  Our expert higher education lawyers are often asked to advise students who wish to appeal a decision made by a University   Many students have recently been advised whether they have obtained a successful placement at their university of...

Are wealthy families more likely to win school appeals?

Ellie Wright
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A recent article published by the BBC suggests that families in affluent areas of England are more likely to succeed in getting a school place on appeal.  But why is this case? https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-47881893 The article discusses a...

Council Tax Discount - 'Severely Mentally Impaired'

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  Thousands of individuals who are classed as ‘severely mentally impaired’ may be entitled to a council tax discount AND a refund of overpaid council tax fees. There has been a distinct lack of guidance from councils across England and...

Ofsteds Recent Inspection of Unregistered Schools

Mollie Jones
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  The number of Unregistered Schools continues to increase and a recent article published by the BBC confirms that Local Authority’s are now contributing thousands of pounds a year to such provisions. The information published within the...

Are Local Authorities failing children with SEN?

Ellie Wright
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A recent news article on Devon online discusses the how Devon County Council is failing children with Special Educational Needs. The article is based on an inspection report carried out by Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission which highlighted that too...

School brings landmark judicial review against Medway Council

Ed Duff
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We have recently acted for a school that was forced to bring a Judicial Review of its own local authority, Medway. This case was brought by the school purely because it had clear, evidenced, concerns that it was not able to support a young person’s...

Families waiting too long for special needs support in England

Mollie Jones
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A recent article published by the BBC calls attention to the significant delays that families who require SEN support face. With an increase in applications for Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCP’s), families are far too often facing unnecessary...

SENTW User Group Meeting

Mollie Jones
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The Special Educational Needs Tribunal for Wales (SENTW) recently held a User Group Meeting to summarise the challenges they have faced in the past year 2017/2018 and to also provide all individuals involved in the Tribunal process with an opportunity to...

The fight for an education - The Sunday Times article

Andrew Barrowclough
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HCB's Head of Education Law, Andrew Barrowclough, gives his views on the state of the current SEN system in England. HCB Solicitors, in Cardiff, is one of the UK’s leading education lawyers who fields hundreds of inquiries from parents lost in...

Increase in child mental health referrals

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Report finds substantial increase in child mental health referrals – where do we go from here? As Education law solicitors we work with many parents who have experienced significant delays with obtaining support for their children who are suffering...

Nottinghamshire Post 16 Blanket Policy

Ed Duff
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We have recently been sent, anonymously, a letter from Nottinghamshire County Council which seems to set out a blanket policy for pupils in year 14.  To clarify, this seems to directly impact upon all pupils in independent and non-maintained special...

Are students being let down by academic misconduct tribunals?

Mollie Jones
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The Times have addressed this issue in their recent article which brings attention to the concerns surrounding academic misconduct tribunals. A shortage of qualified staff has unfortunately resulted in a decline in the quality of tribunal panel members and...

Urgent Need for Improved Mental Health Services

Nathan Davies
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In recent times, mental health awareness has become a topic discussed and debated in the mainstream media and is applicable more than ever in relation to young people throughout England and Wales who have special educational needs. It is often the case that...

Local Authority - 20 week statutory timescale extension

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Can your Local Authority lawfully extend the 20 week statutory timescale to finalise an EHCP? We have had several calls from parents over the last couple of weeks asking for clarification as to whether their Local Authority can extend the 20 week...

Record school exclusion rates are a serious cause for concern

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The specialist Education team at HCB Solicitors have received a sharp rise in calls this year from parents regarding fixed and permanent exclusions. Approximately 9 times out of 10 the excluded child has a special educational need, which has not been met...

A Change to Local Authority Complaints Procedures is Required

Nathan Davies
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A Change to Local Authority Complaints Procedures is Required Throughout years of specialising in Education Law, it has been common for the majority of clients we act for to raise grievances and formal complaints with their Authority for a host of reasons;...

Head of Education Law comments on University fees proposal

Andrew Barrowclough
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Andrew Barrowclough , Head of Education Law at HCB was recently invited by LexisNexis®   to comment on proposed changes to University Fees for an article. He comments as follows: Andrew Barrowclough, echoes concerns that the rise in tuition fees...

Upper Tribunal confirms, again, need for specificity in EHCP

Ed Duff
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The Upper Tribunal has released judgment in the matter of  B-M and B-M v Oxfordshire County Council [2018] UKUT35 (AAC) .   This decision relates to the question of whether or not an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP) needs to contain a high...

Free school placements for children linked to care

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As part of its goal to reform the education system, the government has recently announced that it will be offering state and independent boarding school placements to children with links to the social care system. The move sees the creation of the new, ...

Increase in School Exclusions

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As Education law solicitors, we have seen an increase in the number of enquiries from parents who have been notified that their child has been, or will be excluded from school. Child exclusions are a serious concern for parents and alarmingly, the most...

Approval of the Additional Learning Needs and Educational Tribunal (Wales) Bill by Assembly Members.

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In line with our earlier blog about the Welsh Assembly beginning to listen to the concerns about Special Educational needs reform ( here ). The Additional Learning Needs and Educational Tribunal (Wales) Bill was approved by Assembly Members on Tuesday, 12 th...

Another £45 million spent on SEND implementation

Laura Giggs
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The Department for Education (DfE) has announced a further £45 million for SEND services The package of support worth nearly £45 million is to provide additional help for children with special educational needs (SEN) and disabilities....

Homeschooling and SEN

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A recent article published by the BBC entitled “Horrendous Meltdown: Why I home-educate my daughter” highlights how a lack of school support has led to an increase in the number of children with learning difficulties being home schooled. The...

Mental Health Services in England - the not so shocking truth

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The Care Quality Commission have today published the phase one report   of their review of children and young people’s mental health services which ultimately reveals, as expected, that too many children and young people “have a poor...

Ombudsman - SEN families face 'disproportionate burden'

Ed Duff
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The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman (LGO) has released a report concerning its investigation into the first 100 complaints it has received about Education Health and Care Plans (EHCPs). The Ombudsman’s covering article is entitled...

Special Educational Needs Tribunal for Wales reports on appeals

Laura Giggs
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HCB Solicitors recently attended the Special Educational Needs Tribunal for Wales (SENTW) User Group Meeting 2017.   During the user group, the SENTW presented information about the appeals that it had dealt with during the year 2016/17.   In...

When is an EHCP necessary? - New Upper Tribunal case

Laura Giggs
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The Upper Tribunal has recently published its judgment for JP v Sefton MBC [2017] UKUT 0364 (AAC). This case concerns the statutory test of “necessity” for an Educational Health and Care Plan (EHCP). This case can be useful for parents who...

Pupils with Special Educational Needs ten times more likely to be excluded

Ed Duff
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The Welsh Government recently published data concerning permanent fixed term exclusions from schools for the period 2015 to 2016.    This data indicates that children and young people with Special Educational Needs in Wales are at significantly...

Clamp Down on Contract Cheating in Higher Education

Laura Giggs
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A recent news article by the BBC ‘ Essay cheat companies face university ban ’ discusses how new guidance for universities requires them to clamp down on so-called ‘essay mills’; businesses allowing students to purchase essays and...

Adopted Children and Special Educational Needs

Ed Duff
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The BBC has recently published an article entitled “We’re scared of our adopted son”.  The article can be found here , and deals with what psychiatrists have started to refer to as “callous unemotional traits”.  ...

The ongoing battle for SEN support

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  A recent article published by the Guardian highlights that families are facing significant challenges securing SEN support for their children. It seems that families are simply giving up on seeking EHC needs assessments because of the barriers...

Increase in Social Care labeling SEN parents as "difficult"

Nathan Davies
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It is common, in my experience, for parents of children with autism to feel that concerns expressed to local authority professionals are often discarded, or that there is a distinct lack of understanding of the condition itself. This leads to disputes and...

GCSE results not what you expected? Here's what to do

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In England today pupils will be receiving their GCSE grades however; they will look extremely different to how many of us remember them. This year students are the first to be awarded numerical grades for GCSE’s with 9 being the highest down to 1,...

HELP! My A Level results are not what I was expecting - what can I do?

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Today, many anxious students in England and Wales will receive their A-level results. This year in particular there is much apprehension regarding these results due to the changes in the qualification system, which has seen many A-level courses removing the...

School transport and Special Educational Needs

Ed Duff
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The Upper Tribunal has released two cases in the last year which deal with school transport and special educational needs. The judgments particularly look at transport being included in an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP). There has been a fair amount...

Unlawful EHC needs assessments

Ed Duff
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We have recently been approached by a concerned parent about one local authority’s approach to EHC Needs Assessments. The concern particularly relates to the apparent policy of the Local Authority to refuse to make a Social Care Needs Assessment as...

Parents of Children with ASD Continue to be Targeted by Local Authorities

Nathan Davies
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Earlier in the year, I wrote a series of blogs regarding the variety of unsavoury tactics employed by Local Authorities across England and Wales who attempt to discredit parents of children with special educational needs. I referred to intervention from...

Pupils with SEN, or in Academies, significantly more likely to be excluded

Ed Duff
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The Department for Education has now published the updated statistics for the permanent and fixed period exclusions that were issued in England from 2015 to 2016. These statistics were published on 20th July 2017 and can be found here . This data covers...

How Is School Suitability Assessed?

Ed Duff
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We have recently successfully opposed an Application for Permission to Appeal brought by a Local Authority following a decision of the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal. The Local Authority did not agree with the decision of the Special...

Higher Education and Special Educational Needs

Ed Duff
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The judgment of the Upper Tribunal in the matter of Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea v GG (SEN) has been released.  This judgment is very important for all learners over the age of 16, particularly those who are wishing to secure courses...

Government Tells Parents to Use YouTube, not Lawyers, in the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal

Ed Duff
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We recently wrote about a very substantial release of information by the Department for Education. That release served to review parents' and families' experiences of the new Special Educational Needs and Disability system and their experiences of...

Government Reviews Special Educational Needs and Disability Reforms

Ed Duff
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Over the last few days the Department for Education has released three very substantial documents which all relate to a review of the special educational needs and disability reforms. The first document is entitled "Review of Arrangements for...

Can Outcomes Be Appealed?

Ed Duff
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The judgment of the Upper Tribunal in the case of S v Worcestershire County Council [SEN] has now been released. This new Special Educational Needs decision deals with three key points; 1. The operation of Children and Families Act 2014 in appeals...

Deputyship Explained

Geraint Aubrey
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What is a Deputy? A Deputy is a person appointed by the court to handle the affairs of another person who lacks the mental capacity to do this themselves. The power to handle someone’s affairs when they lose mental capacity does not fall automatically...

Upper Tribunal Confirms Duties to Provide Post-16 Education

Ed Duff
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The judgment in Gloucester County Council v EH (SEN) has been released today. This is very important for all special educational needs cases involving post-16 young people. It is also very interesting in light of the recent DfE Guidance on the topic. In...

Massive set back for post-19 SEN provision

Ed Duff
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The Department for Education has published a new guidance document entitled “SEND: 19- to 25- year olds’ entitlement to EHC Plans”.  The guidance document can be found here and was published on 21 st February 2017. It is notable...

Are the Welsh Assembly listening to concerns about special educational needs reform?

Ed Duff
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On 26 January 2017 the Welsh Assembly’s Children, Young People and Education Committee sought advice in respect of reforming how children and young people with Special Educational Needs (SEN) are supported. We attended the event on 26 January and,...

SEN and failed adoptions

Andrew Barrowclough
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A very worrying recent BBC news article simply titled ‘I sent my adopted son back into care’ has highlighted a number of significant failings in the UK adoption system. The essential issue is that families are not supported appropriately post...

Welsh Assembly seeks expert advice on special educational needs

Ed Duff
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Wales is currently reviewing how to support children and young people with special educational needs (SEN). Today, we were fortunate enough to contribute at a roundtable event hosted by the Welsh Assembly’s Children, Young People and Education...

Social Care and Autism in Practice - Use of Child Protection Procedures

Nathan Davies
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Following an overwhelming response to a blog on this very subject in December, it would be worthwhile picking apart the specifics of what was discussed in that blog and how social care practice (especially in cases involving children and young people with...

Mental Health and special educational needs

Ed Duff
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Prime Minister, Teresa May, gave a speech on 9 January 2017 to the Charity Commission’s annual meeting. Mrs May took the opportunity to declare her Government’s intention to focus on mental health services. Mrs May set out: “What I am...

Residential schools, home tuition and special educational needs

Ed Duff
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The judgement for East Sussex County Council v TW has been released. This relatively short judgement is likely to be very important for: Special educational needs (SEN) appeals seeking residential schools SEN appeals discussing home tuition Deciding...

Parents Face New Obstacle in Fight for SEN Support

Nathan Davies
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Parents of children with complex needs, by and large, already have great difficulties in obtaining the required level of support, understanding from Local Authority professionals and also funding for a suitable placement that would meet the needs of the...

Can super parenting cure autism?

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A recent news article on BBC News is titled “super parenting improves children’s autism”.  The article talks about the latest trend of communication specialists providing parents with ‘super’ parenting techniques in...

Parents in Wales Still Getting a Raw Deal

Nathan Davies
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The specialist education law solicitors at HCB often hear very concerning stories from parents about misinformation that is provided by Local Authorities to parents as to their rights in obtaining additional support for their children with additional...

The current LEA approach to dyslexia

Andrew Barrowclough
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A number of our SEN solicitor experts have noticed a concerning trend throughout England and Wales concerning the policies being implemented to support dyslexic children. Dyslexia is a recognised disability and can have a devastating effect on a young...

Students and stress: why mental health matters

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It's that time of year again where students are arriving or returning to University with parent's cars full of belongings and enough tupperware of Spag Bol to feed the entire campus. The physical wellbeing of students is often discussed openly...

Exam concessions are not cheating

Nathan Davies
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A quite astonishing article published recently in The Daily Telegraph in Sydney illustrates how mainstream schools and in many respects the media deal with special educational needs in schools. The article ...

GCSE Results and the Law

Andrew Barrowclough
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Today thousands of students across the U.K have been given their GCSE results and the vast majority will have worked hard and will have been appropriately rewarded with good grades. Our specialist education law solicitors are however often contacted at this...

How to Support Your Dyslexic Child

Nathan Davies
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The SEN solicitors at HCB are often instructed by parents who are worried about their child who has specific learning difficulties (dyslexia). Parents often seek the assistance of the special educational needs solicitors within the department at various...

The legal rights of PHD students

Andrew Barrowclough
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Our expert higher education lawyers are often asked to advise PHD students further to an unsuccessful attempt to obtain a doctorate and this area of education law is in itself a very specialist niche area. The legal position regarding PHD students is...

Concern over Lack of Support for SEN Pupils

Nathan Davies
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A recent poll conducted by the Association of Teachers and Lecturers revealed that a large proportion of staff interviewed (over 80%) were of the opinion that more needs to be done to assist vulnerable and disabled pupils. One of the key concerns raised by...