We are delighted to announce that Watkins Solicitors are in the process of becoming a dementia-friendly law firm, starting in January 2018. We are now members of the South Gloucestershire and Bristol Dementia Action Alliance, and planning to extend this in Bath where we have recently opened a new office...
Our Education Cases
The LA concedes an appeal for a young boy with complex needs. Education and Social Care agree to joint fund a 52 week placement in a highly specialise residential school.
The young boy was dyslexic and dycalculic; he had made slow academic progress and in addition he had complex behavioural and emotional needs that could not be met through provision at a day school with a package of support after school hours from other agencies. Attempts to meet his needs through a multi-agency approach had failed and it was parental preference that a 52 week residential provision was necessary (September 2013)
The LA concedes an appeal and agrees to place a young man at a specialist, residential school placement.
The young man had a diagnosis of Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and a significant language impairment. It was agreed that he needed to be educated with small numbers of pupils who had similar difficulties. He needed access to on-site speech and language therapy and at least two sessions of direct
therapy per week. A mainstream school could not meet these complex needs and the LA agreed to name a specialist residential placement without the need for an appeal hearing (January 2014).
Another successful outcome where we have acted for parents in an appeal to the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal and placement has been ordered at an independent specialist dyslexia school.
It was found that despite intervention over at least a 4 year period, the young person had made no real progress and a mainstream school could not meet the needs identified. The Tribunal found that the young person needed teaching by specialist teachers qualified and experienced in teaching children with specific learning difficulties with little if any withdrawal from the classroom. This could only be delivered in an independent, specialist school provision. The Tribunal found that the appeal had not been well considered by the Local Authority and its proposals for provision were inconsistent with its own evidence. The Local Authority’s change of position on the day of the hearing was also considered by the Tribunal to undermine the Local Authority’s own case (April 2014).
We successfully assist parents to secure a place at their preferred secondary school for their son who had been subject to bullying in his primary school.
The young boy had developed an emotional overlay of worry and anxiety as a result of the bullying he had been subject to and there was significant parental concern about his move to a secondary school where he would not transfer with his supportive peer group. This young boy had a number of difficulties that often made him ‘fee different’ and ‘not fit in’ and the admission panel were persuaded by the exceptional circumstances of the case (May 2014).
We successfully assist parents to secure a full time home based ABA Programme for their autistic son.
This young boy had failed to make adequate progress through provision arranged by the Local Authority and its special school provision. It was evident from parents intervention that an ABA approach was appropriate and could meet the young boy’s needs, with clear evidence of progress in all areas of learning and development. An appeal was lodged but the Local Authority were persuaded of the benefits of an ABA Programme and agreed to fund a full time home based ABA Programme and issued a Statement of Special Educational Needs that specified and quantified ABA provision, speech and language therapy and occupational therapy as an individual package for special educational provision. (August 2015)
We successfully assisted a parent to secure £3,000 compensation from the Local Government Ombudsman for failure to plan, co-ordinate and deliver an education suitable for a young person with a long term medical condition.
The young person had a diagnosis of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and was unable to access education at school for a significant period of time. The Council did not deliver the young person’s education within a medical needs framework. Instead, they arranged a managed move from one mainstream school to another in its response to managing and planning the young person’s education. A managed move is a procedure designed for pupils who are at risk of permanent exclusion and the Council’s decision to arrange the young person’s education under a managed move meant that attendance was viewed mainly as a matter of attitude and behaviour as opposed to a medical welfare issue. It was an entirely inappropriate arrangement for a pupil with a diagnosed physical illness and depression.
The Council failed to deliver education services appropriate to a young person who was too ill to attend school for medical reasons. The Local Government Ombudsman agreed action for the Council to apologise in writing to the young person and the parents for fault causing injustice and to pay £3,000 to compensate for avoidable distress and disruption caused by permitting a young person’s education to be planned and delivered in an inappropriate way in the period June 2012 to late January 2013. All decisions can be viewed on the website http://www.lgo.org.uk/
After three years without any educational provision, a young boy is able to start his educational career with an independent, specialist provision.
In 2013, the Local Authority refused to carry out a statutory assessment of this young boy’s special educational needs. On the day of the Tribunal Hearing, the Local Authority agreed to carry out the assessment. This process was not completed until November 2014. During this time, there was a dispute about the type of school that the young boy should attend and no education provision was made. This young boy has remained out of education since that date but will be starting school in January 2016 following the ruling of the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal.
In this case, the Local Authority proposed that this young boy attend a school for boys with behavioural difficulties as his first school placement but this was strongly disputed by his parent as he presented with a broad range of difficulties and recent assessments did not reach earlier conclusions regarding the degree and significance of his behaviour.
The Tribunal did not accept that this young boy needed a school with an emphasis on emotional, social and behavioural difficulties and that most recent assessments demonstrated that he was willing and able to co-operate and participate and was able to take part in whole class activities, was sociable and chatty and would join in with his peer group when attending a trial at a school placement. (December 2015)