Discrimination in Schools Solicitors

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Discrimination in Schools Solicitors

Endemic in many societies, discrimination should be met with zero tolerance when encountered. If discrimination  becomes part of a child’s school life, it is essential that you take early steps, and every step, to address discrimination as soon as possible, to avoid detriment to your child’s education, and mental wellbeing.

We only act for children, students and young adults, as well as their parents.  We do not act for schools, colleges or universities.    We are a dedicated specialist education law team, devoting 100% of our time to issues arising out of schools, colleges and universities. Our experience is that where there is discrimination, the pupil or student may be experiencing other issues. Therefore, it is frequently the case that there are several threads to address when seeking to resolve discrimination in education. We will advise you on the best course of action to address discrimination at school, college or university.

Contact Rachael, our senior legal administrator, on 01895 207230 or educationteam@ibblaw.co.uk to speak to one of our specialist discrimination solicitors.

What are Protected Characteristics?

It is unlawful to discriminate against someone on the basis of their:

  • Age
  • Race
  • Disability
  • Marriage and civil partnership
  • Sex
  • Religion or belief
  • Sexual Orientation
  • Gender reassignment / transgender
  • Pregnancy and maternity

The above categories are classified as protected characteristics. Infringement of these protected characteristics can lead to a right to legal action being taken on behalf of the pupil or student, under the Equality Act.

An individual is protected from discrimination in a number of circumstances including public services such as at school, college or university. Discrimination can take place in a number of forms, being direct discrimination, indirect discrimination, harassment and victimisation.

What is Direct Discrimination?

This can occur, by example, where a child is treated worse than another child because of a protected characteristic.

What is Indirect Discrimination?

This may take place when the school, college or university puts a policy in place which has a detrimental impact on a child or student with a protected characteristic compared to a child or student who does not have a protected characteristic.

What is Harassment?

Harassment occurs when a child or student is treated in a humiliating or degrading way.

What is Victimisation?

A child or student cannot be treated unfairly simply because they are exercising their legal rights of taking action in respect of the discrimination they are being subjected to.

How to tackle Discrimination at school, college or university

Raising a concern about discrimination can be scary, especially as it can be hard to know whether you have a case, what can be done and whether it will be taken seriously. Getting expert advice from solicitors who specialise in education law can give you  confidence about your legal rights and improve your chances of challenging discrimination.

At IBB Law, our team of education law specialists assist parents and children facing discrimination at school or university by providing:

  • Expert guidance on whether you have a case
  • Support preparing your case to make it as strong as possible
  • Legal representation
  • Arbitration Support

If you believe your child has been discriminated against in school or at university, you must act fast as you only have 6 months (less one day) to make a complaint from the date of the most recent incident.

We offer a fixed fee initial consultation with our team to discuss your needs and see how we can help. The basis of our charges after the initial consultation is based on how much work will be required. We endeavour to provide a clear costs estimate so you have transparency as to what the cost to you may be.

If you want to know more about how we can help with school discrimination, please contact  Rachael, our senior legal administrator. She will advise how we can help and, if you would like to speak to one of our specialist solicitors, Rachael will send you a link to make a booking online, for an initial consultation, at a time that is convenient to you.

Common questions about educational discrimination

What can you do if your child is discriminated against at school?

If a child reports or experiences discrimination, it is important to act as quickly as possible. The law currently says that any act of discrimination must be challenged within 6 months (less one day) of the last act of discrimination. This incentivises timely action.

If a child does experience discrimination, it is important to establish and understand:

  • How and why the child is being treated unfairly
  • The nature of the unfair treatment
  • The impact of the treatment
  • Who is treating the child unfairly
  • The specific nature of the discrimination

Understanding this can allow you to better understand your case and make a decision about your claim.

Who do you complain to about discrimination in school?

Any acts of discrimination must be taken up directly with the school in the first instance.

If the issue cannot be resolved, any issues involving disability discrimination need to be brought to a Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) tribunal. The SEND tribunal is aimed at providing a practical solution that is legally enforced. This can result in the cessation of discrimination, an apology, staff training and making the buildings more accessible, amongst other solutions.

Race or Sex Discrimination or any other type of discrimination will need to be brought in the County Court. A successful claim will result in the award of financial compensation.

Is there a time limit for making a school discrimination claim?

A discrimination claim must be sent to the Special Educational Needs Tribunal within 6 months of the discrimination taking place.  In some cases, discrimination is ongoing and thus the time limit may be unclear. Therefore, it is important that you take legal advice on a potential school discrimination claim or university discrimination claim as soon as you become aware of the discrimination. The more time you have to prepare a school discrimination or university discrimination claim the better.

What is the cost of school discrimination advice or university discrimination advice?

We offer a fixed fee consultation for an initial advice on the merits of your claim for discrimination at school or discrimination at university. We will consider your documents and listen to your story of how discrimination has arisen. We will then advise you of your options. If you would like us to help you beyond the initial fixed fee consultation, which takes place on Microsoft Teams, we will advise the work involved and the likely cost, so there are no surprises.

Please note that we are only able to take on cases on a privately paying basis. If you are unable to privately fund your case or you looking for general guidance on what actions you can take to protect you or your child’s education rights arising from discrimination at school or discrimination at university, we recommend Citizens Advice.

Get clear legal advice and support for challenging discrimination in school

If you want to know more about how we can help with school discrimination, college discrimination or university discrimination, please contact our senior legal administrator, Rachael, on 01895 207230 or email her at educationteam@ibblaw.co.uk