Raising a child who requires a little extra help with education due to behavioural difficulties, learning difficulties or other disabilities can pose a variety of issues, particularly when securing the best educational services for a loved one.
There are a number of schemes that are available for children with special educational needs, with the additional opportunity to qualify for an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) which will ensure that your child’s best interests are protected until the age of 25.
If you believe that your child may have special educational needs which are yet to be diagnosed professionally, contact your child’s nursery or school’s dedicated SEN co-ordinator. Alternatively, if your child does not attend a school or nursery, you can contact your local council for further advice.
Our dedicated Kent SEN solicitors can help you every step of the way, from helping you organise your child’s EHC needs assessment to representing your family in the event that your plan is declined by the local authorities.
SEN Legal Support
Every educational institute in the country is required to have special systems in place to identify and accommodate students who may have SEN. The exact type of SEN support provided by institutions is determined by government regulations and the specific help that is needed by each child.
If an educational setting believes that a child or young person has SEN, or if their condition has already been predetermined, the staff must follow this process:
- Assessment. The first stage of the SEN support process is to speak to the child’s parents or carers. or even the child themselves to determine what type of support is required.
- Plan. After determining their needs, staff are required to work with the child and their family to decide what support should be put in place to help them achieve the outcomes they set for themselves.
- Implementation. Supported by the institute’s special needs coordinator (SENCO), the staff implement the support plan.
- Review. The SEN support received by the child should be reviewed by everyone involved to ensure that it is being effectively implemented and if it is working. If it is not working and outcomes have not been achieved, the institution or family may want to recommend some alterations to the plan.
If you feel as if your child or a family member has not been receiving a level of support that is in accordance with government standards, you may want to work alongside our SEN solicitors to ensure that your child gets all the help they are entitled to. We can also offer legal advice all in cases relating to SEN support, from cases dealing with discrimination to appeals processes.
An essential plan created specifically to aid those who require a level above the standard special needs support for education, health and care. However, an EHC plan requires an initial assessment from the local authority to ensure that your child can qualify for extra support. Once the creation of an EHC plan has been authorised, the local authorities will draft a plan; allowing you to add requests or comments about matters related to your child’s education or healthcare plan.
The local authorities 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 local authority’s
- Educational Psychology Service
- Social services
- Together with any other professionals, the authority feels it is appropriate to involve – (eg Speech and Language Therapy Service)
Applicants can expect to hear the outcome of the assessment within 2 weeks of its completion. This will include whether they will issue an EHCP as a result of the assessment.
Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that the government will carry out an assessment or an EHC plan for every applicant. In certain cases, it may be necessary to resort to appealing to the Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Tribunal. This appeal must be made within two months of the local authorities’ decision.
With Whitehead Monckton, our expert SEN solicitors can assist you throughout the assessment process, from helping you complete your appeal, to gathering all necessary evidence to help your case.
For further information, or to discuss your case with an SEN solicitor, please do not hesitate to contact our Maidstone, Tenterden, Canterbury and Canary Wharf offices or call us today on 01622 698000.