Is this right that a Family Court Judge can prohibit a child from being assessed? Also, is the school right to withhold referral due to an order/direction aimed at the parents?
In family Court proceedings currently ongoing for over 1 year, brought against me (mother) by child’s father, to prohibit me from removing our child from the school, he doesn’t believe she has an SEN and believes it is bad behaviour. School’s treatment of her anxiety and suspected SEN was traumatising her (school ‘refusal’). Immediately interim ordered to go back, school put in place lots of special measures for about 4 months (reduced timetable, phased return, permission for ear defenders, sensory things etc.) then very suddenly came to an end. Family Court issues between parents seem to be completely forgetting the daily struggles for the child now, I keep asking for permission to have her privately assessed (mainly for ASD & ADHD) but the Judge refuses and has incorporated this wording into the Court orders: both parents do not have permission to have her assessed. I ask at every hearing for this to be discharged but it is declined. This has been a year now and she is declining, and school have pulled everything and find me incredibly irritating, have written things about me that suggest they feel I am making her behaviours up, despite them being witnessed (and once supported) in school. No diagnosis, or EHCP in place. I even tried to complete the ASD Pathway Pack for school to refer her on, but they blocked it after the father showed them the Court order that says “parents” do not have permission to obtain a clinical report.
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- 12 Mar 2023
In order to provide guidance from a family law perspective, more detailed information is needed. I would be happy to speak to you free of charge. Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I am a children panel solicitor but also have a son who is autistic; hence I may be able to point you in the right direction, but as I said, I would need more information. It would not be appropriate to ask you to provide that information on this forum as you are in ongoing court family court proceedings which are confidential. If we speak and if it is appropriate, I would be happy to update my response on here but would need to keep it general given the need to maintain the confidentiality of the proceedings.
- 12 Mar 2023
Dear J E – I don’t want to start commenting on the actions of a Judge in the Family Court, albeit I am sorry to hear about the difficulties your daughter is having.
I am not able to give you legal advice, but I can suggest some guidance.
A parent (note singular) can ask the LA to carry out an EHC needs assessment on their child (s36 CFA 2014):
If the request is granted the parents can then submit their own ‘advice and information’ Reg 6 SEND 2014:
As part of the above, many parents submit reports from independent experts.
If the LA refuse the request the child’s parent (note singular) can appeal to the First-tier Tribunal and ask them to stand in place of the LA and consider whether an EHC needs assessment should be carried out.
S51(2)(a) CHA 2014
As part of the appeal process, a parent will often obtain their own expert evidence.
The Noddy Guide gives provides excellent guidance as to the test to be applied when the EHC needs assessment is applied for.
It is not obvious to me that the Family Court can or should fetter the above statutory rights of a PARENT; this subject is also discussed in the Noddy Guide and is worth reading:
I hope this is helpful and I look forward to reading the contributions of others.