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I am a solicitor, based in our Birmingham office, specialising in education and community care law and cases in the Court of Protection involving mental capacity, best interests and deprivation of liberty. I advise clients throughout England and Wales.
I represent families in Special Educational Needs (SEN) and Disability Tribunals, in challenges against local authority decisions including refusals to conduct education, health and care (EHC) needs assessments, challenges against the content of statements of special educational needs in EHC plans and challenging decisions to cease to maintain statements.
I also have experience dealing with claims for disability discrimination against schools and colleges, as well as admissions and exclusions cases. I regularly conduct my own advocacy before tribunals and panels.
My caseload also involves representing families in judicial review challenges against social services’ assessments and support packages, as well as challenging decisions in the Court of Protection.
I enjoy delivering talks to local organisations and parent groups regarding changes in legislation, the impact these will have on families and how to navigate these changes.
Before beginning in a career in law I worked in a school and at a specialist summer camp for children with SEN. This taught me the importance of correct provision and support for all and inspired me to work in public law to assist families to obtain this.
Away from the office I am a sports enthusiast, Birmingham City fan and a qualified football referee.
Ludlow Road provides vital care for some of the most vulnerable people in society and plans to stop overnight care would have had a devastating impact on families who rely on this vital community service.
“We had always argued on behalf of families that the county council needed to work with parents to decide how best to operate Ludlow Road so we welcome the council’s decision.
“Our clients are delighted at the decision and hope that they can now work with the county council to find a solution that suits all parties.
“The families now call on the county council to honour its commitment by fully engaging in meaningful discussions so that Ludlow Road can continue providing the high quality care that families desperately rely on, avoiding the need for any potential future legal action.”
We are disappointed that the Judge chose not to allow this important claim to proceed for procedural reasons. However, it is important to stress that these procedural issues were specific to this case and therefore the decision does not affect other cases regarding local authority school transport elsewhere in the country or the potential to challenge the discriminatory effect of the legislation in relation to 16-18 year olds using the Human Rights Act.
“How local authorities fund school transport and other special educational needs services is a major issue that have has a huge impact on those affected.
“We are continuing to work with our client and will support the family in relation to the local authority’s new decision in their case when it is produced.”
“The fact that School budgets are suffering as a result of changes to The English Indices of Deprivation is a serious concern which increases the risk of vulnerable pupils not getting the help and support they rely on.
“A high number of pupils from deprived areas have Special Educational Needs and depend on the reading assistants, family support workers and counsellors whose jobs are being cut.
“There is clearly a growing expectation on schools to meet the needs of these pupils within their own resources which is becoming increasingly difficult due to funding issues.
“Local Authorities have a clear duty to assess a child or young person’s education, health and care needs where they may have special educational needs and cannot be met within the school’s own resources.
“With schools struggling financially it is even more critical that applications for a child’s assessments are made without delay so the local authority can consider whether it may be necessary for special educational provision to be arranged in accordance with a formal Education, Health and Care Plan.
“If a child has a statement of special educational needs or Education, Health and Care Plan it is important that the support the child requires is clear and detailed. The local authority must ensure that any support specified is delivered and must provide funding which enables that to happen.
“Schools must be proactive in working with parents and supporting them to allow parents and guardians of the child to challenge local authorities to prevent vulnerable children being disadvantaged. Parents can also raise any concerns they have in respect of their school’s funding settlement with their local MP and government.”
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