This timely work seeks to assist children and young people with special educational needs or disabilities. It is also aimed at their parents and representatives, who may be bringing appeals about special educational needs or disability discrimination claims.
Jane McConnell, Judge of the First-Tier Tribunal (Health, Education and Social Care Chamber) and Lead Judge SEND, praises this book for helping the reader to “understand and unpick what might otherwise be considered a tangled web of legal rights, policy and practice”.
The law is set out as it stands at January 2017. Therefore the book addresses the implications of the Children and Families Act 2014, as well as earlier legislation including the Education Act 1996. The focus, however, is on the Children and Families Act 2014, given that local authorities must, by 2018 transfer children and young people with statements of SEN and LDAs to EHC plans.
The book is divided into 9 sections, which address in some detail both the general principles and specific issues.
There is an interesting section on children and young people with SEN in detention. This includes the monitoring of EHC plans for young people who are in detention, as well as provisions relating to the transfer of a detained person from one place of relevant youth accommodation to another.
In each chapter, there are useful bullet pointed lists of key points. Overall, the book seeks to take a systematic approach to guiding the reader through the legal framework of each topic.
Chapter 8 considers school transport including issues such as eligibility for transport arrangements and whether suitable arrangements have been made by the local authority to enable the pupil to become a registered pupil at a qualifying school nearer to his or her home.
Chapter 9 on inter-authority disputes takes a relevant look at the circumstances in which it is not clear which authority has obligations for a particular child or young person and covers inter-authority recoupment.
Generally speaking, the work is written in an accessible way and although there are extensive footnotes referring to case law and legislative provisions, the main body of the text seeks to be readable. At the back of the book are some useful appendices including extracts from the Children and Families Act 2014, the Equality Act 2010, as well as from the SEND Code of Practice and related regulations.
There are also tables at the front which list key cases and statutory provisions, as well as setting out abbreviations which are commonly used.
The practical and directional style of the work guides the reader, for example, through the approach the First Tier Tribunal (FTT) would take on an appeal where a parent or young person has sought the naming of a qualifying school in section 1 of an EHC plan. Or what the FTT may require from parents of a child in terms of them being made available for examination or assessment by suitably qualified professionals.
Written by 3 barristers at Matrix, this is a clear and comprehensive work which provides a useful addition to the library of any practitioner or parent dealing with this sometimes overwhelming legal framework.