We are raising money for a ‘fighting fund’ to support parents of pupils and prospective pupils at Bright Futures School who have to go to SEN Tribunal to challenge inadequate educational provision in their child’s Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP).
Pupils come to our school with EHCPs already in place and our school has no influence over the EHC provision to meet educational needs until we get to the annual review of the EHCP.
Where provision to meet needs has been inadequate/inappropriate, we have had some very good success in showing at the annual review that the provision hasn’t led to the anticipated outcomes and then in negotiating with the local authority (the body who is ultimately accountable for ensuring that provision meets needs and leads to outcomes) for alternative provision. This has meant that many of our parents have avoided needing to go to SEN Tribunal and so have avoided the stress and cost of a court case.
However, there are times when:
i) A local authority will not agree to changing current provision, even though there is evidence that current provision isn’t meeting needs.
ii) Prospective parents may need specialist expert reports in order to provide evidence to help them to change provision or secure a placement at Bright Futures School.
The cost of a solicitor to represent a family at SEN Tribunal is generally about £6,000. Expert reports can cost anywhere between £500 - £1,000 per report.
Our PTA charity, Friends of Bright Futures School, had some funding that it was able to use to contribute towards these costs but unfortunately this funding has now been exhausted.
For most families, these costs are prohibitive and they are unable to bring their case to court.
Consequently, provision does not get challenged and the child’s educational needs remain unmet. Local authorities, who have access to unlimited public funds to finance solicitors and barristers to represent them, sometimes refuse to amend provision because they aware that the cost of going to a Tribunal put parents off.
The system is stacked against parents and is manifestly unfair.
The fund therefore aims to level the playing field and give parents a fair fighting chance by covering some or all of the cost of:
a) Legal representation in court (SEN Tribunal)
b) Expert reports (to provide evidence of needs)
Your donation will help us to fight for the right provision for pupils with autism and their families, who are already hugely disadvantaged by a system that fails to support them.
We would be very grateful for a donation, no matter how small.
Thanks for reading!
- Lindsay Downs
- Mechel-Gabriella Gwinneth
- Mechel-Gabriella Gwinneth
Friends of Bright Futures School
Donations eligible for Gift Aid.