SEN reform in Wales

December 12th, 2016 by Joanne Clement

Readers of this blog practising in Wales will no doubt be rejoicing today, after the long-awaited Additional Learning Needs and Eduction Tribunal (Wales) Bill was finally introduced into the Senedd.
Details of the Bill and its expected progress are found here. I hope to provide a summary of the key changes to be introduced by the Bill on this blog in due course.

Read more »


Special Educational Needs: Guidance given on approach where parents cannot agree on choice of school in SEN statement

October 31st, 2016 by Joanne Clement

In SG v Denbighshire County Council and B (SEN) (Special Educational Needs: Special Educational Provision – naming school) [2016] UKUT 460 (AAC), the Upper Tribunal gave guidance on the approach to be taken where parents cannot agree on the choice of school to be named in Part 4 of a statement of special educational needs (“the Statement”).

E’s parents were separated, and did not agree on the choice of secondary school. The parents had a joint residence order, but it appears that E lived with her mother. Mr S wanted E to attend a school in Town R, where he lived. E’s mother wanted E to attend a school in Town P, which was also attended by E’s sister. In Part 4, the local authority named “P School (as long as parents pay for transport)”. Read more »


Government formally drops academies legislation

October 28th, 2016 by Joanne Clement

In a Written Ministerial Statement made yesterday, 27 October 2016, the Secretary of State for Education confirmed that the Education Bill announced in the Queen’s Speech (with the aim of introducing forced academy conversions for all schools), had been abandoned.

The Secretary of State confirmed that:
“Our ambition remains that all schools should benefit from the freedom and autonomy that academy status brings. our focus, however, is on building capacity in the system and encouraging schools to convert voluntarily. no changes to legislation are required for these purposes and therefore we do not require wider education legislation in this session to make progress on our ambitious education agenda”.

The Department for Education currently has three Bills before Parliament – the Children and Social Work Bill (as to which, see my post on the 11KBW Community Care blog), the Higher Education and Research Bill and the Technical and Further Education Bill (introduced on 27 October). The Schools that Work for Everyone consultation (proposing more grammar school places) remains ongoing. It is due to end in mid-December, with a White Paper to follow.


11KBW Annual Education Conference for Schools and Universities

October 18th, 2016 by Claire Halas

11KBW is ‘the standout set for education law in terms of strength in depth’ Legal 500

The 11KBW Education Group are holding their annual education conference on Wednesday 30 November 2016.  The conference will be divided into two separate sessions – schools and academies in the morning and universities in the afternoon with a lunch for all in the middle of the day.  The topics to be covered are listed below and both sessions will be chaired by Peter Oldham QC and include the opportunity for questions and answers.   Read more »


Why a Tribunal has mis-applied human rights law in closing an independent religious school

August 25th, 2016 by Tom Cross

In my post on 19 May (below), I highlighted that a decision of the First-Tier Tribunal that Beis Aharon Jewish school was in breach of various independent school standards was reached without consideration of Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which provides for a right to manifest one’s religious belief. Section 6 of the Human Rights Act 1998 requires Tribunals themselves to make decisions in accordance with human rights like Article 9. Read more »


Head Teacher’s Safeguarding responsibilities

July 20th, 2016 by James Goudie QC

A v B Local Authority and C Governing Body of School [2016] EWCA Civ 766 is concerned with whether an ET had been entitled to find that a Head Teacher of a primary school had been fairly summarily dismissed for gross misconduct, i.e. putting the safety of children at risk, for failing to disclose to the school authorities her close personal relationship with a male (IS) convicted of making indecent images of children by downloading them onto his computer. The ET’s finding was upheld by the EAT (Wilkie J presiding) and has now been upheld by a majority in the Court of Appeal (Black and Floyd LJJ).  Elias LJ dissented. Read more »


Upper Tribunal cases – capacity, the need for an EHC Plan and transport

July 8th, 2016 by Rachel Kamm

This blog has been slow to report on three Upper Tribunal cases about the capacity of young people to bring SEN appeals, the need for an EHC Plan, and home-school transport. Anyone would think that there had been some legal and political distractions recently.  Read more »


Term-time holiday prosecutions – appeal

June 12th, 2016 by Rachel Kamm

The Isle of Wight Council has announced that it has applied for permission to appeal to the Supreme Court against the Divisional Court’s judgment in the Platt case about term-time holiday prosecutions. The Council explains that it is appealing following a formal request from the Secretary of State for Education, who is funding the appeal and will seek to be joined as an interested party. Read more »


Fundamental British values

June 3rd, 2016 by Peter Oldham QC

The National College of Teaching & Leadership regulates teachers’ professional conduct on behalf of the Secretary of State. The Teachers’ Disciplinary (England) Regulations 2012 provide for the policing of “Teachers’ Standards”, a document published by SoS, which has a section entitled “Personal and Professional Conduct”. This includes the following:-

“Teachers uphold public trust in the profession and maintain high standards of ethics and behaviour, within and outside school, by: … not undermining fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect, and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs.” Read more »


Term-time holiday prosecutions – judgment available

June 2nd, 2016 by Rachel Kamm

The Divisional Court’s judgment in Isle of Wight Council v Platt [2016] EWHC 1283 (Admin) is now available. See my previous posts on the topic.

The judgment provides further information about the factual background. Mr Platt’s daughter (M) had had two unauthorised absences in the school year in question. First, she had been absent for a week in February when she had been on holiday with Mr Platt’s ex-wife. Secondly, she had been absent for seven school days in April when she went on holiday with Mr Platt (which was the relevant absence). Before that April holiday, her attendance for the school year had been 95% and afterwards it was 90.3%. The local authority’s documents indicated that attendance of 90-95% was satisfactory. Read more »