Our Public Law solicitors helped a mother challenge the Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan the local authority put together for her son.
Alice’s* son, Tony* has autism and learning and development disorders. He needed specialist support at school and at home. The local authority provided this support through an EHC plan that they put together based on their assessment of Tony’s needs.
In 2019, Tony was moving to secondary school and would need extra help to adjust to the change. Alice felt that Tony would benefit from one-to-one support and therapy to help him get used to his new school.
The EHC plan that the local authority put together for Tony didn’t include one-to-one support or the therapy he needed to succeed at school.
The plan also lacked proper social care support like short breaks provision. Short breaks provision helps children that have physical or mental impairments take part in activities to meet friends and develop independence. It also gives their carers a break from their duties. Earlier that year, the local authority withdrew Tony’s short breaks provision.
How We Helped
Alice contacted us to see if we could help her make changes to Tony’s EHC plan. Caroline Barrett, one of our solicitors in our Public Law team, worked with Alice to challenge the local authority to improve the support for Tony.
We gathered expert evidence from an independent educational psychologist, speech and language therapist and occupational therapist. All of them agreed that Tony should have one to one support to help him settle into secondary school.
We made a claim against the local authority at the First Tier Tribunal for Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND). Once we got a Tribunal hearing date, we continued to work with the local authority to improve Tony’s EHC plan. This meant we could resolve some of the issues before the hearing.
One of the things we resolved is Tony’s need for one-to-one support. The local authority agreed that they should include this in Tony’s plan.
A Successful Outcome
At the Tribunal hearing, we still needed to resolve the issue of getting Tony speech and language therapy and occupational therapy. The Tribunal agreed that it would be in Tony’s best interest to get this kind of support at his new school.
The successful outcome meant that Tony’s EHC plan now included speech and language therapy and occupational therapy recommended by the local authority’s occupational therapist. The Tribunal also stated that the local authority should carry out further assessments to give Tony the correct social care he needed.
Caroline Barrett said:
“[Tony’s] mother worked very hard to advocate for her son and to obtain independent advice which supported his need for quantified therapeutic provision and 1:1 support. This evidence strongly supported the outcomes that we were seeking in the appeal.
The overall outcome of the Tribunal appeal is positive for [Tony] and I very much hope that [he] is now able to progress through secondary school with all the support that he needs to succeed.”
Tony’s mum was really pleased with the outcome and that her son would now get the correct support. She said:
“Caroline was a patient source of sensible advice, wisdom and common sense. She gave me confidence that I could succeed in my son’s EHC plan appeal while ensuring that what I was requesting on behalf of my son was realistic.”
If you’re caring for someone, and you’re not sure their care plan is supporting them properly, we could help. Contact our Public Law team on 0370 1500 100 or fill out our enquiry form and we’ll call you back.
*Not clients’ real names
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