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Special Educational Needs in Monmouthshire
Our special education needs (SEN) solicitors have helped many parents and young people in Monmouthshire and have experience of advising parents across the country. We are specialists in helping families who have complex disputes with their Local Authority in relation to their child with additional learning needs.
We also work closely alongside specialist placements and independent schools both within and outside of the county to secure funding from the Local Authority for the child to attend.
We have provided expert education law advice in Monmouthshire for many years to secure special educational needs support for several children, young people and families. The specialist education law solicitors have dealt with Monmouthshire County Council on numerous matters which can often involve an appeal being made to the Special Educational Needs Tribunal for Wales (SENTW).
What are Special Educational Needs in Monmouthshire?
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.
Special educational needs can be regarded as being 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
- literacy and/or numeracy
- language ability
- social and/or communication skills
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.
Monmouthshire 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 Monmouthshire seek special educational needs advice from us and we have an excellent record of success against the Council.
If the SEN Department in Monmouthshire 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 Monmouthshire County Council SEN team.
We would always advise parents to make sure that they focus on the SEN Code of Practice and current legislation, rather than Monmouthshire Council’s SEN policies only. The SEN Code of Practice can be found here.
This however is only guidance and not a set of mandatory requirements the Authority must follow.
What is SEN Support in Monmouthshire?
The school should 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 for the child that will consist of special education provision from within the school’s own budget and resources.
Sometime, however the child will not be in attendance at school due to a complex medical condition or high levels of anxiety, for example. This does not preclude a parent from requesting an assessment of their special educational needs.
If the school does not identify a pupil as having special educational needs, or the support is not sufficient to meet their special educational needs, it may be necessary to secure a statutory assessment of their special educational needs from Monmouthshire 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 specifically worded 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 of SEN in Monmouthshire?
Before a Statement of SEN can be issued, Monmouthshire County Council must make a statutory assessment and at the conclusion of the assessment, Monmouthshire 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 Monmouthshire?
We can help in the following ways:
- Formally requesting a statutory assessment from Monmouthshire County Council
- Successful appeals to Tribunal against Monmouthshire’s refusal to make and maintain a Statement of SEN
- Successful appeals to Tribunal against Monmouthshire’s refusal to conduct a statutory assessment
- Successfully appealing to Tribunal against Monmouthshire for additional support, therapy and provision
- Successfully appealing to Tribunal against Monmouthshire for specialist and/or independent school placements