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Special Educational Needs in Cardiff
Based in our modern Cardiff Bay offices, our specialist special educational needs (SEN) solicitor team have helped many parents and young people within Cardiff County Council, obtaining successful outcomes in resolving disputes between them and the Local Authority. The team specialises in helping parents who encounter complex disputes with their Local Authority in relation to their child/young person with additional learning needs (ALN). HCB works closely alongside specialist placements and independent schools both within and outside of the county to secure funding from Cardiff County Council for the child to attend.
We have provided expert education law advice in Cardiff for many years to secure special educational needs support for many children, young people and families. The specialist education law solicitors have dealt with Cardiff 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 Cardiff?
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 processing
- hearing and/or visual impairment
- literacy and/or numeracy
- language (expressive or receptive) impairment
- social and/or communication skills
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. 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.
Cardiff 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. These policies can be found here:
This can result in poor decision making and bad decisions being made that require challenge. That is often why parents in Cardiff seek special educational needs advice from us and we have an excellent record of success against the Council.
If the SEN Department in Cardiff Local Education Authority relies on policies exclusively, rather than the law, this can lead to disputes arising and we have helped families successfully appeal to SENTW against decisions taken by Cardiff 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 Cardiff 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. The relevant legislation is contained within the Education Act 1996.
What is SEN Support in Cardiff?
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 Cardiff 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 Cardiff?
Before a Statement of SEN can be issued, Cardiff County Council must make a statutory assessment and at the conclusion of the assessment, Cardiff 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 Cardiff City Council 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 Cardiff?
Our special education needs solicitors provide advice in Cardiff. To contact our specialist education lawyers, please call 02920 291 704 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
We can help in the following ways:
- Formally requesting a statutory assessment from Cardiff County Council
- Successful appeals to Tribunal against Cardiff’s refusal to issue a Statement of SEN following an assessment
- Successful appeals to Tribunal against Cardiff’s refusal to conduct a statutory assessment
- Successfully appealing to Tribunal against Cardiff for additional support, therapy and provision
- Successfully appealing to Tribunal against Cardiff for specialist and/or independent school placements