Q. My child has not got into the school of my choice. Is there anything that I can do?

A Yes you may be able to appeal. If your child has been unsuccessful in obtaining a place for at a state school, you will be able to bring an appeal to an independent appeal panel. If your child has a statement of special educational needs, you may need to bring an appeal to the special educational needs and disability tribunal.

Q. My child is disabled and being discriminated against at school. Is there anything I can do?

A. Since September 2002, the law has allowed parents to bring complaints about disability discrimination regarding their children at school. Providing that the discrimination has happened within the last six months (or is continuing) and providing that the discrimination is not deemed to be ‘justified’, you can bring a complaint to the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal. Your Attwaters Jameson Hill Education Law solicitor will be able to advise you in this matter.

If the Tribunal upholds your complaint, they can order that the school (or local education authority) do a number of things, including apologise to you and/or your child, but they cannot order financial compensation.

Q. My child has been permanently excluded from school. What can I do?

A. Assuming that it is a state school, you will, first, be able to appeal to the governing body’s discipline committee. If that is unsuccessful, you will then have another right of appeal to an independent appeal panel.

Q. I think that my child may need more help than their school can give. What should I do?

A. If your child has a disability, a learning difficulty or some behavioural difficulty which means that he/she requires additional or different provision from that which is available in the local, ordinary school, he/she may be entitled to a statement of special educational needs.

Attwaters Jameson Hill’s Education Law team will be able to assist you with a legal document setting out what extra provision should be made for him/her. The first thing to do is to speak to the school to get their views about his/her needs. Then, if you are still of the view that he/she needs more help than they can give, you should write to your local education authority and ask them to conduct a statutory assessment of your child’s special educational needs.

The local education authority will then have approximately six weeks to decide whether or not to do so. If they do so, they will conduct a comprehensive assessment and will then decide whether to make a statement. If at any stage they decide not to proceed in a way that you don’t agree with (or if they produce a statement of special educational needs that you do not agree with) you may have a right of appeal to a body known as the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal.

Q. What is home education, and is it legal?

A. Home Education (HE) is when parents take the full responsibility to provide an education for their children in ways other than by schooling.

Yes, home education is legal in all parts of the UK and always has been. In England and Wales Home education is given equal status with schools under section 7 of the Education Act 1996 which says:

‘The parent of every child of compulsory school age shall cause him to receive efficient full time education suitable a) to his age ability and aptitude, and b) any special educational needs he may have, either by attendance at a school or otherwise.’

Where “otherwise” refers to the right to home educate your child. Other parts of the UK have their own similar arrangements

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