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Whitehead Monckton: Expert Education Lawyers

At Whitehead Monckton, our education law solicitors offer expert education legal advice across a wide range of issues at nursery, school, college. This includes complaints, admissions, exclusions, special education needs (SEN) and more.

Maybe you have an issue with admission to a particular school, how the school is dealing with incidents, or concerns about how the school is performing. Or perhaps your child has special education needs that aren’t being met, or you believe your child’s school is not performing their duties effectively.

At Whitehead Monckton, we know all parents want to give their children the best education they can, that’s why we are on hand to offer detailed advice on a range of education matters.

We can help with:

  • Admissions - if you have an issue with your child getting into a school or nursery.
  • Exclusions - if your child has been excluded from school and you wish to appeal.
  • Secondary school place appeals - if you want to appeal a decision on a secondary school place, including issues with the Kent Test (11+).
  • Complaints - If you believe the school has got something wrong and you feel you are not being listened to.
  • Special Education Needs (SEN) - f there are issues around your child’s assessment, or if your child has SEN and their needs are not being met.
  • Discrimination - If your child has been discriminated against at school.
  • Bullying - if your child is being bullied at school and the school is not taking appropriate action.
  • Negligence - if you believe the school or staff are neglecting their duties.
  • School transport - if you have an issue with the school’s transport.
  • Collective action - if you wish to take collective action against a school.

If you don’t see your issue listed above, don’t worry. Whitehead Monckton can help with a wide range of concerns relating to education law. Contact our team today to see if we can help with your issue.

A really important element of our role is to ensure clear communication between the parties and an understanding of the options available but also the constraints. We will help you enter into a respectful dialogue with the school, proceeding through the correct channels. We can guide parents through the various processes, or actually attend admission hearings and appeals. The extent of our involvement can be flexible to suit the family’s wishes and the different circumstances.

In some cases, we will give the advice you need to hear, rather than what you want to hear, all designed to achieve the best outcome for your family.

How We Can Help With Disputes

In order to help with your dispute we firstly need to build a clear picture of the issue and possible outcomes. We will prepare a timeline and cross reference to all the relevant documents to make your case clear and understandable.

We can then work out the best approach to take and inform you of the type of support we can provide in order to agree the extent of our involvement.

For example, your child may have passed the Kent Test but was unsuccessful in securing a place at your school of choice and you are considering an appeal. We can work with you to review your options, look at if an appeal is appropriate, prepare an appeal framework and represent you at the appeal if appropriate.

Each case is different and the extent of our involvement will be based on your wishes matched with the circumstances involved.

Some of the issues our team can help with include:

  • Admission to a school or nursery.
  • An appeal to be made after an exclusion from school.
  • Secondary school place appeals including the Kent Test.
  • Special educational needs (SEN) where these are not being recognised or met.
  • We can also work with teachers and schools who are under regulatory investigations or may wish to challenge funding decisions.

Contact our education law solicitors today for more information on how we can help you with your issue.

Special Education Needs (SEN) and EHCP

If your child has disabilities, difficulty in learning or behavioural difficulties, they may have special educational needs (SEN) and can therefore qualify for additional educational support.

There is a laid down process to help determine your child’s special educational needs and following a defined process these needs are set out in an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP). We have set out below what is involved in the process.

EHCP

The process is the means by which a child’s Special Educational Needs are assessed and provided for by a Local Authority (LA).

A parent can request that a EHC Assessment of their child’s needs is undertaken by a LA. The authority has 6 weeks in which to decide if they are going to do so. If the LA refuses to undertake a Statutory Assessment parents have a right of appeal to the SEND Tribunal. This appeal must be made within two months of the LA’s decision.

The LA need to carry out the Statutory Assessment of a child’s needs within 16 weeks. In doing so they must seek advice from:

  • The child’s school
  • The child’s parents
  • A medical officer
  • The LA’s Educational Psychology Service
  • Social Services
  • Together with any other professional the authority feels it is appropriate to involve – (eg the Speech and Language Therapy Service)

The LA should inform a parent of the outcome of the assessment within two weeks of its completion. This includes whether they will issue an EHCP as a result of the assessment. In some cases the LA will issue a Note in Lieu and parents have a right of appeal against this decision to the SEND Tribunal which must be pursued within 2 months.

Whitehead Monckton education lawyers can assist you throughout this assessment process or only get involved if you need to complete an appeal to the SEND Tribunal, the decision depends on how much support you need and the specific circumstances for your child.

Education Law For Schools and Colleges

Aside from helping parents and guardians with education law issues, we also help schools, colleges and other educational institutions with their own legal issues.

Some of the issues we advise on include:

  • Admissions
  • Advising and acting as governors
  • Employment Law
  • Exclusions and appeals
  • Planning issues, applications and consents
  • Property and boundary issues
  • Supply contracts

Employment and HR Advice for Schools

Every educational establishment needs to understand and comply with employment laws. These are some of the most complex laws for educational establishments, with continually evolving regulations and in many cases EU regulations adding to the complexity.

Our education lawyers can help with:

  • Data Protection Termination & settlement agreements
  • Contracts & handbooks
  • Redundancy & restructuring
  • Disciplinary issues & grievances
  • Employment Tribunal Representation
  • Capability issues
Our Team

Graham Jones who heads the education team has extensive experience in supporting and providing education legal advice to families. As a school governor, at both a primary and secondary school, he is not only aware of the laws and regulations, but understands the practical issues and constraints which can affect children and their education.

He has worked in all areas of school governance, curriculum, finance, personnel and has a pragmatic and collaborative approach to solving issues. Graham’s other area of expertise is Family Law so he is well-placed to help resolve any issues over education arising from divorce and family breakdowns. As a member of Resolution he is committed to the constructive resolution of family disputes and carries this approach through all his advice. He is also a qualified mediator.

David Riordan is an experienced dispute resolution specialist and can work with you to review your options, decide on whether an appeal is appropriate, prepare the appeal framework and if appropriate represent you at the appeal itself.

Louise Purcell is an experienced employment lawyer and able to provide the support your school or educational institution needs. We have lots of experience advising a broad range of clients. We will provide cost effective and relevant advice to meet your needs.

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