Can a School Refuse a Child With EHCP?
Can a School Refuse a Child With EHCP?
If your child has an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) they must be admitted to the school noted in their EHCP.
Children with EHCPs are not admitted through the typical admissions arrangements; they are placed in schools through the EHCP process.
Under Section 43 Children and Families Act 2014, the school named in an EHCP must admit the child.
Schools must admit children with an EHCP regardless of whether they have places available, including if they are oversubscribed.
This blog will explain why a school should not refuse a child with an EHCP and what action you can take if they do.
Can a school refuse admission to a child with an EHCP?
Schools are generally prohibited from refusing admission to a child with an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP).
An EHCP is a legally binding document that outlines a child’s special educational needs and the support required to meet those needs.
Schools are obligated to provide the specified support and make reasonable adjustments to ensure inclusivity.
Refusing admission to a child with an EHCP would only be allowed under exceptional circumstances and this decision would be subject to legal scrutiny.
If a school attempts to refuse EHCP school admissions, parents or guardians should promptly contact the local authority and seek legal advice.
There are established procedures for appealing these decisions and taking legal action may be necessary to ensure your child’s rights are upheld.
What should I do if a school refuses to admit my child with an EHCP?
If a school refuses admission to your child with an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP), it is important to take action quickly.
First, contact the local authority and inform them of the situation. Discuss the specifics of the EHCP school refusal and seek a resolution.
Familiarise yourself with the EHCP provisions to understand your child’s rights, ensuring that the refusal is not in violation of these legal obligations.
It is also advisable to consult with a solicitor specialising in education law. They can provide guidance on the appeals process, assess the validity of the refusal, and advocate for your child’s rights.
Legal intervention may be necessary to ensure the school complies with EHCP provisions and offers the necessary support.
Engaging a solicitor early in the process can expedite the resolution and protect your child’s educational rights. You should keep detailed records of communications, refusals, and any supporting evidence to strengthen your case. The goal is to ensure that your child receives the inclusive education and support outlined in their EHCP.
Are there circumstances under which a school can refuse a child with an EHCP?
While schools are generally obligated to admit children with Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs), they can be refused under exceptional circumstances.
These situations are rare and typically involve exceptional challenges that may impede the school’s ability to provide appropriate support.
Such circumstances could include issues like an overwhelming health and safety risk, the lack of resources to meet the specified needs or the absence of appropriate facilities.
However, even in these cases, schools must demonstrate that they have thoroughly explored alternative options and reasonable adjustments to accommodate the child’s needs. Refusal must be justifiable and the decision will be subject to legal scrutiny.
Parents or guardians facing such a situation should seek immediate advice from the local authority and consider consulting with an education law solicitor.
Legal intervention may be necessary to ensure that the refusal is valid and that the child’s rights to an inclusive education, as outlined in the EHCP, are upheld.
Can a school change its decision after initially accepting a child with an EHCP?
Once a school has accepted a child with an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP), changing this decision should only occur under exceptional circumstances. Generally, schools are expected to adhere to their initial acceptance, and any alteration must be justifiable and legally sound.
If a school contemplates changing its decision, it must thoroughly assess and demonstrate that the circumstances have substantially shifted and that the school’s capacity to meet the child’s needs is compromised.
Parents or guardians in such situations should seek immediate advice from the local authority and consider consulting with an education law solicitor.
Legal intervention may be necessary to ensure the school’s decision is lawful and that the child’s rights under the EHCP, including the right to an inclusive education, are protected.
What legal options do parents have if a school wrongfully refuses admission to a child with an EHCP?
Parents facing the wrongful refusal of admission for their child with an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) in the UK have several legal options to pursue.
First, they should appeal the decision through the local authority’s appeals process. This involves presenting their case and providing evidence to challenge the refusal. If the appeal proves unsuccessful, parents can escalate the matter to the Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Tribunal. The tribunal is an independent body that reviews decisions related to EHCPs and can overturn refusals.
If you plan to start the appeals process, you should consider seeking legal advice and representation from an education law solicitor.
A solicitor can assess the situation, provide guidance on the legal aspects, and advocate for the child’s rights. IBB Law’s special education needs solicitors only act on behalf of children and their families. We do not act for schools or colleges. You can be sure that our lawyers are 100% committed to ensuring you achieve the best possible outcomes for your child.
Legal intervention may involve judicial review proceedings if the refusal is deemed to be unlawful or in violation of the child’s rights under the EHCP.
It’s crucial to act promptly, gather relevant evidence, and engage legal support to ensure a thorough and effective response to the wrongful refusal, ultimately securing your child’s right to an inclusive education.
How long could the process take to resolve if a school is refusing admission to a child with an EHCP?
The timeline for resolving a situation where a school is refusing admission to a child with an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) can vary. Generally, the process involves appealing the decision through the local authority and potentially escalating to the Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Tribunal.
The local authority’s appeal process typically takes a few months, and if this proves unsuccessful, the case may move to the SEND Tribunal. The tribunal process, from lodging the appeal to a final decision, may take several months, depending on factors such as the complexity of the case and the availability of hearing dates.
It’s essential for parents to act promptly, as delays can impact the child’s education. Seeking legal advice from the beginning, can speed up the process and ensure that all necessary steps are taken to resolve the situation efficiently. Throughout this period, maintaining open communication with the local authority, gathering relevant evidence, and engaging with education law solicitors can contribute to a more streamlined and effective resolution.
Get in touch with our Education Solicitors specialising in Education, Health and Care Plans
The information given here is intended for general information purposes only and should not be taken as legal advice.
For specific guidance relevant to your situation and to arrange an initial fixed fee education law consultation, with one of our special educational needs lawyers please contact our education law senior administrator, Rachael, on 01895 207230 or email firstname.lastname@example.org . Rachael will explain the process and if you want to proceed with a fixed fee consultation, she will send you a link to enable you to book an online appointment, for a day and time that is most convenient to you.