Education Lawyers Dorset
Education Lawyers Covering Dorset
Education Law Legal Advice in Dorset
Our specialist education lawyers have experience of supporting children, young people and families in Dorset and have a vast experience of working across England and Wales.
How can I get support for my child’s special educational needs in Dorset?
Special educational needs (SEN) affect how a person learns. Special educational needs entail a wide range of disabilities including but not limited to:
- Physical ability
- Concentration levels
- Hearing and/or visual impairment
- Reading and writing
- Ability to understand
- Social skills.
A child or young person’s school is usually where a SEN is identified. In these instances, the class teacher works alongside the Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCo) who takes the responsibility for planning and monitoring of the additional support for the child or young person.
The ‘Assess, Plan, Do, Review’ model is used in most schools to support SEN. There are various types of support available to your child, but this will mainly depend on their circumstances, this support could include the use of special learning materials, small group and one-to-one work.
Parents and guardians should be involved in discussion about planning SEN support for their child or young person. You should be updated a minimum of three times a year on the support that is being provided, by whom, and how the progress will be monitored and evaluated.
Each school receives a SEN Delegated Budget, this budget is not finite and as a result could limit the support available to the children and young people at the school who require SEN. On occasion, the school may not identify that your child has SEN, or the needs of the child or young person cannot be met at the school. If this is the case, then you should consider an application for an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP).
If you are unsure as to whether your child has special educational needs and is receiving the appropriate support, then you should seek legal advice. HCB’s specialist Education Law Solicitors have significant experience in the provision of special educational needs advice in the Dorset area. We have also had successful appeals via a tribunal which have helped many families overturn initial decisions made by the local authority. We are experts at giving SEN Legal advice to parents.
How to Apply for an EHCP in Dorset
Before an EHCP can be issued, an Education Health Care (EHC) Needs Assessment must be completed.
When a child is still failing to make progress, it is the job of the school’s Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCo) to review the special provisions being made and decide what appropriate additional provisions can be made through the ‘Asses, Plan, Do, Review’ method.
Beyond this, if a child is still failing to achieve their expected academic progress then an Education Health and Care (EHC) needs assessment may be appropriate. This will be conducted by the local authority to define the child’s specific needs and the provision needed to achieve progress and whether it is within the school’s means to provide them.
The legal criteria for determining whether or not to carry out an EHC needs assessment is outlined in Section 36 of the Children and Families Act (2014). A local authority should take into account the extent of a child’s learning difficulties, the provision they have already received, and any additional provision provided by the child’s parents/guardians. The local authority also has a duty to examine whether any of these difficulties point to further learning needs that haven’t already been identified.
Once all this has been considered, a child’s progress should be judged to determine whether their progress is adequate, if independent provision is being provided, and whether their progress would be stunted without these provisions.
Each case is examined on an individual basis, however, if after examining all the information it becomes clear a child is not making progress, and in fact cannot make progress without an EHC needs assessment, then the local authority should conclude that an assessment is indeed necessary.
Despite it being important that the law is applied correctly when applying for an EHC needs assessment, many local authorities’ panels will rely more on internal criteria that doesn’t necessarily take into account an individual’s circumstances. This internal criteria can be much stricter, and so in many cases a local authority can wrongly turn down an EHC assessment request.
How to appeal for an EHCP in Dorset
Information gathered during the assessment process is brought together and forms the EHCP.
Further information on how this assessment is made and guidance on the application process can be found here:
Appeals can be made to the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal (SENDIST), if the local authority refuses to complete an EHC needs assessment, or if they refuse to make an EHCP. As this process can be complex it is useful to take specialist legal advice regarding a SENDIST appeal. Here at HCB Education Law we have specialist lawyers who assist with SENDIST appeals.
What SEN Legal Advice is available in Dorset?
HCB Education Law Solicitors are specialist education law solicitors who have helped many children, young people and their families in the Dorset area as well as extensive experience of working with families throughout the country. Our SEN solicitors are specialists who focus on this area of practice and we have a very high success rate.
To speak to one of our specialist education solicitors covering the Dorset area, please call our team on 0844 556 3525.
Dorset’s SEN policies and guidance can be found here:
Support available to you in Dorsetfor Special Educational Needs (SEN)
Dorset’sSEN page in relation to Education, Health and Care Needs assessments and plans can be found here:
You can also click on the link below to the Dorset Local Offer to find support available to children and young people with special educational needs: