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JimLawyer
JimLawyer, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 11655
Experience:  Senior Associate Solicitor
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My son born 23/08/11 is a formerly LAC who is diagnosed with

Customer Question

Good morning, My son born 23/08/11 is a formerly LAC who is diagnosed with ASD and ADHD. He has an EHCP but this is well out of date and is being reviewed currently. Following years attending mainstream schools with poor outcomes he was placed in a SEN school in our LEA area but this is an hour away. Prior to his placement we had a meeting with the Education Officer who emphatically told us this was the school the LEA was offering and it would meet his needs. Having no choice we accepted but still made clear that we had reservations about the distance and journey and how he would cope. He commutes there by taxi. Within a couple of weeks of him starting at the school the assistant head has without consulting us invoked a reduced timetable for our son. He is to attend the school Mon, Wed and Fri spending Tues and Thurs at home. The Asst Head cited the reasons fo this step was that the school was unaware of his needs and they need to access him to determine his required level of support. At this time we have asked exactly what assessments are being done and how these can be done when he’s at home? We have requested clarity on the purpose of the reduced timetable and its duration once again, we have been given an answer. As a family we are at crisis point and have asked what support we can have to accommodate our sons home learning and the restrictions this is placing on our lives. This has not been addressed. This arbitrary decision has left us feeling irrelevant and bullied. We want to work with the school but are experiencing constant push back when we try to be heard. What should we do and what is our legal position?
JA: Where is this? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: Wiltshire. The school is in Calne.
JA: What steps have been taken so far?
Customer: We have had a number of email exchanges but our questions remain unanswered.
JA: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: No thank you.
Submitted: 12 days ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  JimLawyer replied 12 days ago.

Hi, this is Jim, thank you for the question - I will resolve this for you.

Sorry to hear of the issue. I am surprised the LEA have not done more here. It sounds like there is no support system and no real assessment made for your Son's needs, so in my view the LEA have failed in their duty of care to your Son and his education needs.
You could first make a complaint to the LEA and if that does not resolve this, involve the Local Government Ombudsman (LGO) : https://www.lgo.org.uk/make-a-complaint

The LGO may be able to help but you would need to firstly exhaust the council's complaints procedure, unless you have done this already.

Luckily, there is a legal remedy available against a council with it being a public body. You can issue "Judicial Review" proceedings which is where you involve the court, and a senior judge or panel of judges looks the legality of the LEA's decision. If the judge(s) find in your favour, they will make an order which is binding on the LEA and they are then forced to act to help you and your Son.

The issue with judicial review is that the cases are quite complex, but as a result of that, a law firm can usually recover their legal costs from the council if they win the application. You should be able to have a no win no fee agreement with the law firm, to sue the council. I would not recommend you take legal action yourself. You would be dealing with the council's lawyers and the costs are high. Here are a few firms who specialise in this area :

If/when you contact the above firms, if you tell them you want to consider judicial review against your LEA. You should then be able to speak directly to a lawyer who specialises in Judicial Review.
I hope this helps and answers the question - please feel free to ask me anything else. .

Have a good day,
Jim

Customer: replied 12 days ago.
Hi Jim,
Thank you very much for the prompt response. It has clarified the obligation of the LEA and how we can seek a remedy.Kind regardsDavid
Expert:  JimLawyer replied 12 days ago.

Many thanks, ***** ***** it helps and you make progress with them - they will not want to become embroiled in judicial review proceedings so hopefully one of those firms can exert some pressure on them without the need to issue court proceedings.
Best wishes,
Jim