A recent judicial review case taken by an academy trust against a local authority has provided some useful guidance for schools when dealing with requests to admit children with EHCPs.
A recent judicial review case taken by an academy trust against a local authority has provided some useful guidance for schools when dealing with requests to admit children with Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs).
The case involved a child who was moving from one local authority area to another. The child had an EHCP and a change of school was required. The new local authority consulted with a school preferred by the parents in accordance with the Children & Families Act 2014. The school responded and set out in detail why the school was not suitable for the child as it did not have the resources to make the provision that the child required. There was some delay in the proceedings at this point and the local authority then contacted the school again with a different version of the EHCP with a great deal of the provision for the child now missing from the EHCP. The school was named in the plan and was therefore under a legal duty to admit the child as a pupil. The school therefore lodged a complaint with the Secretary of State in relation to the local authority’s unreasonable actions. The DfE found in favour of the local authority. The school started judicial review proceedings on a number of grounds including the action of removing provision from the EHCP was unlawful; the consultation procedure was flawed and that the local authority had misunderstood the legal framework. The school was successful and the local authority decision naming the school was quashed.
The judge set out that it was appropriate to attempt to resolve the dispute via the DfE prior to initiating legal proceedings and then went on to set out that:
The decision confirms that:
If you have concerns about any of these issues, do get in contact with us to discuss the individual cases further.
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