Special Educational Needs Solicitors
Legal Advice and Guidance for parents and carers in London & UK
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Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) solicitors
Our Special Educational Needs Solicitors (SEN) have a wide range of experience in providing advice, assistance and support for pupils, parents and young people who require help with SEND matters.
“I’m very grateful for all of your efforts and dedication in following-up my son’s special education needs with the council and for getting him the education he deserves. You showed genuine concern for my son’s case and worked tirelessly to achieve an excellent outcome. I would be very willing to recommend you to anyone else needing a specialist education solicitor. You were thorough, knowledgeable and a pleasure to work with.” (Dr. Khulud Almani)
When might you need a Special Educational Needs solicitor?
Many children and young people experience difficulties during their education and there are times when expert legal advice and representation can make a real difference. Your child may be having difficulty in school, may have Special Educational Needs or a Disability (SEND) and may not be receiving the correct education, health or social care provision. Your child may have been unfairly excluded or not been given a place at the school of your choice. If you do have any of these difficulties, we can help. Decisions made by schools, colleges and specialist providers, as well as local authorities, may not always be lawful, reasonable or rational.
Education lawyers - services we can assist you with
We can help you to understand how the law and guidance can work for you and what steps can be taken to resolve an issue. We are focused on finding a resolution that meets your needs to secure the outcome you desire. Examples of the areas where we often help include:
- Requesting/challenging an EHC needs assessment
- Challenging a refusal to assess your child
- Assisting with the annual review process
- Assisting at the SEND Tribunal e.g. drafting appeals and representing you
- School transport for students with SEND
- Disability discrimination
- Advice on how to access the right support and education for your child e.g. getting your child with SEND into the school of your choice
- Making changes to your working document and liaising with the local authority
- Ensuring your child receives the assistance they are legally entitled to as set out in the Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP) through judicial review proceedings if necessary. This is our page on Judicial Reviews which may be helpful.
- Advising on any claims you may have against the school or local authority
- Advising on direct payments for your child’s education
Special Education Needs is a complex field of law under constant change. The education work we do is broad and thorough. We are dedicated to the rights of children and young people to obtain the best possible education.
We accept referrals from any part of England and Wales. Whether you are a parent, carer or student, our services will be specific to your individual needs. We are sensitive to how upsetting disputes with your school or local authority can be. Our team will aim to facilitate good relations between all parties whilst we conduct your legal matter, working in collaboration where necessary to achieve a successful outcome.
SEND lawyers - some recent cases
Our Special Educational Needs solicitors have successfully acted for young people and parents in the SEND Tribunal and in judicial review cases, our work includes:
- Securing provision for pupils with SEND
- Obtaining an Education, Health and Care Plans for pupils with Special Educational Needs and disabilities
- Securing a waking day curriculum for pupils with Special Educational Needs at a residential placement
- Securing school transport for children with SEND
- Successfully concluding judicial review proceedings against a local authority for failing to deliver SEND provision as set out in the Education Health and Care Plan
- Challenging the social care and health care provision as set out in a child’s Health and Care Plan at Tribunal as part of the national trial
- Delivering training to schools and working with schools to assist parents of children with SEND
“Amara Ahmad is the UK’s leading specialist education and children’s law solicitors and is associated with S L Therapy London. We work very closely with our families who have EHC Plans and if you have any questions/queries at this time, Amara is happy to help.”
Special Educational Needs FAQ's
What does SEND mean?
If your child has special educational needs or a disability (SEND) it means that they have a learning difficulty or disability that will make it harder for them to learn than other children. If your child has SEND, they will need extra help to enable them to progress.
If you are concerned that your child is not making adequate progress, or you think they may have SEN then you should talk to their teacher straight away. Your child’s teacher may think it appropriate to involve the SENCO (Special Educational Needs Coordinator) at the school at this stage.
What is an EHC plan?
According to the Government,
“An education, health and care (EHC) plan is for children and young people aged up to 25 who need more support than is available through special educational needs support.
EHC plans identify educational, health and social needs and set out the additional support to meet those needs.”
The plan should be easily understood by the child/young person, parents and institution involved. It should include who is required to do what and when. In addition, it should include how often the plan should be reviewed. If the plan is for someone who is beyond year 9, it should include provision to help them to prepare for adulthood and independent living. The plan doesn’t have any fixed format and each local authority can choose its own style.
Can I request an EHC assessment?
If the school cannot meet the needs of your child, you can ask the local authority to carry out an Education Health and Care (EHC) assessment of your child’s needs.
This is a detailed investigation into what needs your child has and the kind of special help they require. The local authority should decide within six weeks of receiving the request whether to carry out an assessment of your child’s needs.
If the authority decides not to carry out an assessment, you will have the right to appeal against this decision to the Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Tribunal. You must do so within two months of the decision.
What does the law say on SEN?
The Special Education Needs code of practice (2014) covers the 0-25 age range. It includes guidance relating to disabled children and young people as well as those with SEN. There is also new guidance for education and training settings on taking a graduated (assess, plan, do, review) approach to identifying and supporting pupils and students with SEN. Teachers are responsible for assessing, planning and supporting pupils with an SEN. They should be supported by the SENCO (Special Education Needs Coordinator). Where children have more complex issues, they will have an EHCP. The SENCO works closely with work colleagues, pupils, parents and outside agencies. You can find more information about the Special Education Needs code of practice here
Can I lodge an appeal at an SEN tribunal?
To lodge an appeal with the SEND tribunal you will need to complete an appeal form and send it to the tribunal together with your grounds of appeal, that is, your reasons for appealing.
You should also send any documents which support your appeal. It is extremely helpful to have an independent educational psychologist report that supports what you are saying your child needs.
Your appeal will be registered and sent to the local authority who will be given a timescale for responding to your appeal. The tribunal will also issue a set of directions which will set out how your appeal will proceed from that point on and provide you with a set of deadlines for providing the tribunal with any further information.
The decision of the tribunal following the hearing will be binding on the local authority.
Our Special Educational Needs solicitors have experience with this and can help you with this process.
Our fee structure
Our Special Educational Needs solicitors will ensure that we advise you about the different ways of funding your case, both fixed fees and hourly rates. In addition, we can put you in touch with a specialist crowd-funding platform, Crowd Justice, and we can work with your insurance company, if appropriate.
Fixed fee SEN packages
• Education Advice Meeting - £600 + VAT
A meeting to discuss challenging a decision or appealing. We’ll also review recent relevant papers before the meeting so it’s as productive as possible.
• SEN Transport / Travel Arrangements - £750 + VAT
A consultation and advice from a Legal Advisor relating to a child’s SEN transport/travel arrangement.
• EHCP evidence review – £800 plus VAT
A review of the EHCP as well as expert reports. We’ll advise if there is enough evidence to achieve the changes you want and what further evidence and next steps may be needed.
Appeals to the Special Educational Needs and Disability (“SEND”) Tribunal
• For an EHC Plan appeal to the SEND Tribunal we offer a capped fee of £7,500 - £10,000 + VAT which covers our services from an initial consultation through to the hearing at the SEND Tribunal.
• For bringing a claim for disability discrimination in the SEND Tribunal we offer a capped fee of £7,000 - £9,000 + VAT, excluding advocacy fees from Counsel or a Solicitor.
Special Educational Needs Solicitors - our team
Amara Ahmad heads up the SEND team at Doyle Clayton. She is one of the UK’s leading specialist education and children’s law solicitors. Amara regularly advises parents through the education health and care plan process and represents parents and young people at the SEND Tribunal. She has experience of community care and mental capacity law and the impact of mental capacity in school settings and residential placements.
More information on Amara can be found on her personal page.
The Education team also includes Simon Henthorn, is one of the UK’s outstanding Education lawyers. In addition, Liz Timmins who is highly ranked as a lawyer in the education sector is part of this team.
1. SEND and EHC Plans: What you need to know
In our first joint webinar with SL Therapy, Amara and Sarah focus on SEND support for your child. Using a case study as a real-life example and bringing together legal and clinical experience, the webinar will cover the key areas of:
• The basics of special educational needs and disability (SEND).
• SEND law, processes and procedures – how to get an EHC plan for your child.
Aimed at parents of children with SEND, the webinar will enable you to:
• Understand SEND law and statutory guidance.
• Understand the education, health and care assessment and planning procedure.
• Understand the duties of the school and the local authority to pupils with SEND. We share top tips and strategies to help you navigate common pitfalls.
This webinar will help you to work collaboratively with your school, the local authority and the clinical commissioning group and secure an EHC Plan for your child.
We also share top tips and strategies to help navigate common pitfalls and provide practical support to school staff, and schools to work collaboratively with local authorities, the clinical commissioning group, parents and pupils.
Webinar 2: SEN The Basics
Using a case study as a real-life example, we cover the key areas of:
- The basics of special educational needs and disability (SEND)
- SEND law, processes and procedures - what they mean for your school
- SEND and exclusion
For schools and further education colleges in the independent and state sector, the webinar will enable them to:
- Find and use the law and statutory guidance about SEN, disabilities and exclusions
- Understand the education, health and care (EHC) assessment and planning procedure
- Recognise where exclusion is an option and the risks of excluding
- Understand the duties of the school and the local authority to pupils with SEN
Contact Doyle Clayton
If you are looking for a Special Educational Needs solicitor, we can here to help. To make contact call us on +44 (0)20 7329 9090 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will call you. Please leave a message if you can’t get through. We will respond quickly to all enquiries.
Additionally, we are happy to advise you by video call. One of our legal team can often advise you on the same day you contact us.