Special Educational Provision during school holidays - an update
A recent decision from the Upper Tribunal, GK v North Somerset Council (2018) has upheld a parent’s appeal in respect of when a Local Authority is required to provide special educational provision outside of school term times.
The child in question needed speech and language therapy. At the First-tier Tribunal, the Local Authority did not submit that such provision could not be provided during school holidays but instead argued that this provision was not reasonably required during this time. The First-tier Tribunal subsequently decided if the child’s communication regressed during school holidays, then this was a matter for his school to address. It was also held that the parents could implement techniques as recommended by the speech and language therapist during school holidays if they wished.
The First-tier Tribunal ultimately concluded that a Local Authority is in fact not required to provide special educational provision outside of term time at all. The Upper Tribunal did not agree and held the First-tier Tribunal’s reasoning to be confused. The Upper Tribunal noted the First-tier Tribunal should have considered if there was any material evidence as to why the child required such provision outside of the school term, which did not happen in this case.
The question for any appeal concerning a child or young person with special educational needs is whether those needs require special educational provision, such as speech and language therapy, to be delivered. This case raises interesting questions as to when such provision should then be provided, and if there is a need for such support to continue outside of the school term and outside of school hours.
The case has been re-referred to the First-tier Tribunal, to be heard by a different panel.