When should a Local Authority issue a Statement of SEN?

This case concerned the Local Authority’s appeal against the First Tier Tribunal’s decision to allow the parents’ appeal against the Local Authority’s refusal to issue a statement of SEN.

A, was a seven year old with learning difficulties, the extent of which had been in dispute as had the support that needed to be made for her. Her parents had requested the Local Authority (LA) to carry out a statutory assessment of her special educational needs.

Initially the LA refused to carry out the assessment  but after an appeal the LA carried out the assessment and issued a note in lieu instead of a Statement of SEN. The LA recognised that A had special educational needs but stated that these were not sufficiently severe, long-term or complex to require a Statement. It stated that appropriate arrangements would be made using the resources available to her school and that her needs required an IEP as available in the School Action and School Action Plus levels of intervention set out in the SEN Code of Practice.

A’s parents successfully appealed the LA’s refusal to issue a Statement.

The LA appealed the Tribunal’s decision on three grounds:

  1. That the Tribunal did not ask itself, or answer, the right questions – i.e. that there no proper consideration and findings as to what A’s special educational needs were, what provision she needed and from what resources that provision should come;
  2. That if it did ask and answer the right questions, it failed to make adequate findings of fact or give good reasons for its decision;
  3. That its decision was perverse.

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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