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case update on SEN statements

30 November 2012

The case of Essex CC v Williams [2011] examined whether or not those over the age of 19 met the criteria under the Education Act 1996 to receive a Statement of SEN.

The Court of appeal has now released its judgement setting out that those over the age of 19 could not be considered a “child” under the Education Act 1996. This will mean that authorities do not have to maintain Statements of SEN past that age.

The court said that for most people it would be absurd to refer to a young adult of 20 years or more as a ‘child’ and that they would not extend the specific definition of child as set out in the Act.

Extending this provision would have far reaching budgetary implications, as well as raising safeguarding concerns around teaching adults alongside children. It looks like there will be a further appeal, which we will again follow with interest.

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