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Clare
Clare, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 33311
Experience:  I have been a solicitor in High Street Practice since 1985 with a wide general experience.
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Hi, We have a summer born princess who unfortunately has had

Customer Question

Hi,
We have a summer born princess who unfortunately has had delayed verbal communications and motor skills.
According to our Local Authority (LA - Hertfordshire), she is supposed to start reception this year and we have been worried with her being summer born and the special needs she has, that she will really struggle. Our proposed solution is that our little one start reception next year (in 2015 as opposed to 2014) as she has been showing signs of improvement and with the continued support she gets, we are very sure that she will be ready by next year. Furthermore she will be 5 years 2 months in September 2015, which does not exactly put her out of her ‘chronological age group’.
To that end, we approached the LA and the DfE (Department of Education).
We have a written response from the DfE which clearly points out that parent’s discretion should be used in such cases.
However our LA has gone through the ‘due process’ (including having the little one’s case considered by a panel) and declined. The options that we have been given is that she can join the reception class after two terms or we withdraw the allocated school place and apply next year where she will get placed in year 1 as opposed to reception. The reason for their denial is that they do not consider the little ones case to be special enough and that they want her to be in the right ‘chronological age group’.
This clearly is in complete contradiction to what the DfE says.
We have now had enough and are considering legal action against our LA, so the questions are:
1. What has been the outcome of such cases in the past?
2. How long does the typical process take?
3. Do we have similar historic cases against Hertfordshire LA?
Thanks
Hemant
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
Thank you for your question.
My name is Clare
I will do my best to help you but I need some further information first.
Has your daughter had a Statement of Needs been prepared
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi Claire,

Not sure about the Statement of Needs but we provided the LA with all the medical reports which point out the delayed motor and verbal communications.

She does have an Individual Education Plan. Furthermore our local NHS support team have pushed us (and we have applied) for Disability Living Allowance as my wife is now a full time carer.

Hope that helps. Please feel free to ask further questions you might have.

Hemant

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
What does the IEP say about when she should start school?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi Claire,

The IEP does not mention when she should start school - it just talks about her challenges and targets (e.g. she still uses just 2 to 3 words whereas should be speaking in sentences etc).

Hemant

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
At present you cannot be forced to send her to school at all - that is at your discretion.
However when she does start next September you cannot insist that she goes into the Reception Class - nor can you take legal action at this stage.
Your way forward may be to agree that she may start in the Reception class after the Easter holidays next year.
If at that point you do not think she is ready you still cannot be forced to send her - and at that point you can have a further assessment done and hold further meetings with the SENCO at the school as to the best way forward
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thanks

Can you answer any of the direct 3 questions in the original post?

Hemant

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
I cannot do so because you cannot bring a case
You need to ask for the Education Authority to prepare a Statement of your child's Special Educational Needs
Details here
https://www.gov.uk/children-with-special-educational-needs/assessments
This should address which school your child should go to and when.
If you are not happy with the outcome you can appeal
https://www.justice.gov.uk/downloads/tribunals/special-educational-needs-and-disability/HowToAppealAgainstSENDdecision_Jan11.pdf
Clare

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