School Days – The Best Years of your Life

As a new school year starts solicitor Alison Dukes considers the position of children who have special educational needs.

Recent surveys show that an increasing number of children are identified as having special educational needs and that, far from regarding school as a happy experience, many struggle in their educational setting.

It is estimated that two to three children in every classroom may be affected by dyslexia. Many other children have difficulties on the autistic spectrum and an increasing number of children are also being identified as having Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

Every child is entitled to receive educational provision appropriate to meet his or her special educational needs but it cannot be taken for granted that this will always happen.

So what can a concerned parent do? Early identification of your child’s difficulties is desirable as is knowledge of your legal entitlement to appeal to a First Tier Tribunal of the Health Education and Social Care Chamber if you think that your child is not receiving the education he or she needs.

An appeal to the Tribunal can be made if the Local Education Authority (the LEA) refuses to carry out a Statutory Assessment of a child’s Special Educational Needs following a request by a parent or a school or, if having carried out a Statutory Assessment, the LEA declines to issue a Statement of Special Educational Needs for the child. If your child is statemented but you disagree with how your child’s special educational needs are described or with the educational provision, including the school, which the Statement sets out, this can also be appealed.

There are strict time limits for an appeal to the Tribunal which is independent and sits with a legally qualified chair and two panel members.

For advice on how to bring or pursue an appeal for your child contact Alison on 0117 9621460 or by e-mail

AMD Solicitors have offices at Henleaze, Clifton, and Shirehampton and offer an initial free 30 minute appointment.

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This article is provided for general information purposes only and represents our understanding of the relevant law and practice as at the date of uploading. This article should not be relied upon as legal advice pertaining to any specific factual situation. Legal decisions should be made only after proper consultation with a legal professional of your choosing.

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