from past clients
John's story – EHC Assessment & Plan
John was a bright 10 year old autistic boy who struggled to settle at school. He suffered anxiety in all aspects of his school life. His parents were constantly being contacted by the Head Teacher complaining about poor behaviour.
They were also experiencing melt-downs at home which were increasing in frequency. They felt John’s Special Educational Needs were not being met in school. They believed that his needs would be better met in a specialist school by staff who were trained to understand and manage Autistic Spectrum Disorder.
When they contacted Turner’s Solicitors, Emma Turner pressed the need for Education Health and Care (EHC) Needs Assessment. This led to an EHC Plan being drafted to answer John’s specific needs.
At first the local authority refused to recognise that there was a need for an EHCP but Turner’s lodged an appeal, using key elements on the Code of Practice, together with case law. The authority were forced to reconsider and agreed to issue an EHCP.
After accepting that an EHCP was needed, the challenge was to get the local authority to accept that a special school would better suit John’s needs. This was a major sticking point. Turner’s arranged for all the necessary evidence, including speech and language therapy reports and occupational therapy assessments.
Turner’s lodged a further appeal with the aim of securing the appropriate school for John. The Tribunal supported John and his parents and agreed that the mainstream school placement was not meeting his needs.
The Tribunal ordered that John should be given a place in the special school.
He is now settled in a special school, where he has a good network of friends and is responding well to the specialist support that is being provided. The right school environment has reduced his anxiety, enabling him to learn in a way that meets his needs. His self-esteem has improved and for the first time he has a network of friends.
Stephanie's story – SEN Tribunal
Stephanie had severe and complex special educational needs and was non-verbal. The local authority refused to accept that a specialist residential school was the most appropriate setting to meet her educational development.
Stephanie would wake all hours of the night and wander around so needed 24 hour supervision. She had no sense of danger. Her parents experienced disturbed nights continually.
Steph needed supervision during all her waking hours. Her parents were exhausted, particularly during the long school holidays. Her educational needs were very basic but not being met.
Most of her education needed to focus on developing basic communication skills and basic life skills such as dressing and toileting skills as well as basic self-help skills.
The local authority in this case, first refused a specialist residential placement. The authority maintained a local school placement could meet her needs and that the specialist residential school, the preferred option of her parents, was inefficient use of public resources.
With the support of Turner’s Solicitors, this was challenged. Turners represented the parents at the tribunal and succeeded in getting an Order that Stephanie should attend a specialist placement as a weekly boarder.
This changed Stephanie’s quality of life. She settled well and developed her communication and life skills.
Her parents were pleased with her development and the school felt she would benefit from staying in school during the weekends (returning home for school holidays). This would further develop her basic life skills.
The local authority resisted this so an appeal was lodged. This time the authority conceded and agreed to the appeal just before the tribunal hearing. Stephanie continues to develop her communication skills.
Paula's story – University PhD Appeal
Paula was a PhD student at a leading university. She was failed and claimed that her supervision had not been appropriate and had prevented her from succeeding.
Turners Solicitors represented her through the lengthy university complaints process. The University did not deal with the complaint to their satisfaction and referred the case to the Office of Independent Adjudication.
They judged that Paula should be reinstated with a different supervisor. The PhD was then successfully completed and Paula was able to advance in her career in engineering as she had planned.
Jake's story – SEN Appeal
Jake was a boy in Reception Class. He had severe communication difficulties which required 1:1 support and Speech and Language Therapy built into his school day. His parents wanted him to remain in a mainstream school and believed that with the appropriate 1:1 support this would be possible.
The requirements for this case was to firstly obtain an Education Health and Care Assessment and then an appropriate Education Health and Care Plan.
The authority initially refused an EHC assessment, only agreeing once an appeal had been lodged.
An EHCP was then issued for Jake but the authority and school were refusing to specify speech and language therapy and 1:1 support on a full-time basis.
Jake required 1:1 support during break and lunch times to help with his communication difficulties.
An appeal was lodged and the tribunal appeal prepared and submitted. Two days before the appeal was due to be heard, the authority backed down and re-wrote the EHC plan to include 6 ½ hours 1:1 support each week, together with fortnightly speech and language therapy to be delivered in school as part of his school day.
Jake is now thriving and has a good chance of succeeding in his mainstream primary school. The regular speech and language therapy, along with the 1:1 support is enabling him to develop his communication and play a full part in his mainstream reception class. Jake is building a network of friends and is much happier at home and at school. He still has significant needs but they are now managed appropriately.
Richard's story – Exclusion from Secondary School
Richard was a boy in Secondary School who had a history of challenging behaviour. He was permanently excluded from school for threatening a teacher.
His parents wanted to appeal the permanent exclusion. Turners Solicitors drafted the Grounds of Appeal and represented Richard’s parents at the Independent Review Hearing. The school maintained that they had exhausted all opportunities for supporting Richard.
Turner’s argued that the school had not supported Richard properly and that they could not possibly maintain the permanent exclusion was the last resort. Turner’s highlighted actions that could have been taken to help Richard.
The appeal was allowed and the permanent exclusion decision quashed.
Richard and his parents decided they did not want him to go back to the school (they felt he needed a fresh start elsewhere) but wanted his school records to reflect that the exclusion had been quashed. They were anxious that his prospects would be damaged if he had been excluded permanently. Winning the case enabled Richard to make a fresh start in a new school without an exclusion record.
Tom's Story – University Exclusion Appeal
Tom was a University Student who was thrown off his course for inappropriate use of social media.
Turners were instructed by Tom and his parents to lodge an appeal for him to return to the university to complete his degree. A robust appeal was made to the university with the result being he was allowed to return to complete his degree after a shortened exclusion period.
“A very professional and efficient service which delivered a positive result. I would highly recommend Turner’s Solicitors.”
Mrs Linda Jones
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Turner’s Solicitors specialise in helping parents and students gain the most from their school, college or University experience. We handle all matters relating to education including Special Educational Needs, Admission Appeals, Exclusion Appeals, University Complaints and Disability Discrimination cases.