Appeal against the Statement and successful negotiation with the local authority

Poppy was 12 years old when her parents came to see us. Poppy had very complex medical needs. She was born with severe combined immune deficiency and suffered encephalitis when undergoing a bone marrow transplant resulting in quadriplegic cerebral palsy. She had epilepsy, a visual impairment and had no verbal communication. She needed 24 hour care. She was, however, intelligent, responsive and sociable.

Poppy’s primary schooling had been in a special residential school and had been funded by tripartite agreement between Education, Health and Social Care. To give Poppy a change of environment it was arranged for Poppy to have the residential part of her placement in a separate bungalow. This placement only took children up to Year 6.

Poppy’s Statement of SEN was amended prior to secondary transfer. The LA did not have another suitable residential secondary special school placement nearby and named a day special school. The LA agreed that Poppy continue to stay in the bungalow for the residential part of her education, health and care.

Although the transition to secondary school was fraught with difficulties, Poppy’s parents worked closely with staff to train them. They were determined to make it work provided she was permitted to stay at the bungalow after school hours with staff and a routine that she was happy and familiar with.  

Unfortunately, because of lack of funds the LA decided to close Poppy’s old primary school. This meant that the bungalow would also close. Poppy’s parents were distraught. There was nowhere suitable for Poppy to go to for the residential part of her placement. The LA proposed a children’s home where her parents were determined not to send her.

How we were able to help

We used the Annual Review to lodge an appeal against Parts 2, 3 and 4 of the Statement and appealed for a special residential school some distance away from the family which would cost the LA £225,000+ for a 52 week placement. Poppy’s parents did not want to send her to a school far away; she had complex medical needs and was under the care of a team of consultants nearby.

We instructed independent experts to assess Poppy and managed to increase provision in Part 3 of her Statement. Over several months we negotiated hard with Education, Heath and Social Care and succeeding in getting the LA to keep the bungalow attached to the special primary school open so that Poppy and other children like her could continue to reside there for the post-school part of their waking day curriculum. We were able to reach agreement without the need to go to a hearing, thereby saving her parents the cost of a hearing

I am so happy at the outcome, I don't think we would have had such a comprehensive service from any other law firm, and you took the worry away...I do not regret a single second of the whole process, apart from the bit before you got involved. 

James' mother, Boyes Turner client

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