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Special Educational Needs in Swansea
Our special education needs (SEN) solicitors have helped many parents and young people in Swansea and have experience of working across the country.
We have provided expert education law advice in Swansea to secure special educational needs support for several children, young people and families. The specialist education law solicitors have dealt with Swansea County Council on numerous matters. This can often involve an appeal being made to the Special Educational Needs Tribunal for Wales.
What are Special Educational Needs in Swansea?
Special educational needs are 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
- hearing and/or visual impairment
- social skills
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 from a specialist education law solicitor.
The City and County of Swansea has their own policies, but also must comply with 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. That is often why parents in Swansea seek special educational needs advice from us.
If the SEN Department in Swansea Local Education Authority relies on policies exclusively, rather than the law, this can lead to improper decision-making and we have helped several families successfully appeal to SENTW against decisions taken by Swansea County Council SEN team.
Swansea’s SEN policies and guidance can be found here.
We would always advise parents to make sure that they focus on the Special Educational Needs Code of Practice and current legislation, rather than Swansea Council’s SEN policies only. The SEN Code of Practice can be found here.
What is SEN Support in Swansea?
The school hopefully would identify that a child or young person has special educational needs. When this happens, the class teacher and Additional Learning Needs Coordinator (ALNCo), will plan additional support.
If the school does not identify a pupil with special educational needs, it may be necessary to seek a statutory assessment of their special educational needs from Swansea 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 may be needed. The school should discuss with the child, young person and their parents / guardian requesting an assessment. 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 in Swansea?
The guidance for securing a statutory assessment and Statement of Special Educational Needs in Swansea can be found here.
This can be a helpful guide to know how to qualify for a Statement of SEN in Swansea. However, it is important to know that the Local Education Authority must comply with legal duties, as well as operating its own policies.
Before a Statement of SEN can be issued, Swansea County Council must make a statutory assessment.
At the conclusion of the assessment, Swansea 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, you can appeal to the Special Educational Needs Tribunal for Wales.
Where can I find SEN legal advice in Swansea?
We have helped in the following ways:
- Formally requesting a statutory assessment from Swansea Council
- Successful appeals to Tribunal against Swansea’s refusal to make and maintain a Statement of SEN
- Successful appeals to Tribunal against Swansea’s refusal to conduct a statutory assessment
- Successfully appealing to Tribunal against Swansea for additional support
- Successfully appealing to Tribunal against Swansea for specialist school places