Our client, EM has been using a wheelchair since birth. We were approached by his family when he was due to transfer to secondary school.

EM’s complex physical and communication needs have had a significant impact on his learning and his ability to access to the curriculum. He uses a wheelchair, is non-verbal and has occasional seizures due to epilepsy.

EM had been attending a special school on a day placement basis. For the move to secondary education, EM’s mum and dad believed that his best interests would be served if he transferred to an independent special school on a residential basis.

However, the local authority decided that a day placement at local special school for children with severe learning difficulties was suitable.

EM’s parents were concerned that the school identified by the local authority did not have appropriate therapy provision for him and could not fully meet his needs.

In addition, that school was for children with severe learning difficulties — which our clients believed was not appropriate for their child’s profile.

How we helped

EM’s parents instructed us to appeal to the First Tier Tribunal against parts 2, 3 and 4 of the Statement of Special Educational Needs.

We assisted EM’s parents throughout the appeal process — instructing an independent educational psychologist and an independent occupational therapist to provide expert evidence.

The outcome

Following a Tribunal hearing, we were granted the amendments we were seeking to parts 2 and 3 of EM’s Statement of Special Educational Needs.

As a result, the Tribunal ordered the local authority to fund EM’s placement at the independent special school chosen by the parents on a weekly residential basis.