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  • Sean Kennedy

  • Talem Law

  • Barrister
  • SEN and Disability (Education and Employment)

  • Rewards 1582

Sean is a barrister at Talem Law, a firm that focuses on the practice areas of special educational and employment law. The firm has specialities in disability issues in the classroom and during employment.

He gained first-hand experience of SEN gained from supporting his children who are disabled. Some years ago, and being exasperated by the lack of provision available at the time, was one of a small team of people who set up a successful ASD specific independent school in order to give his children the education they needed.

In addition to my work in the field of SEN, he has extensive experience of a large number of employment tribunal matters, particularly with disability discrimination claims, unfair dismissal and TUPE. He has also represented detained patients in the Mental Health Tribunal and professionals in regulatory proceedings.

Questions [0]

Questions they have asked

Answers [92]

Questions they have answered

  • Can Section A only be amended at annual review? I have just successfully appealed Sections B, F and I of my child’s EHCP at Tribunal. The Tribunal ...

    ... has ordered the LA to amend Sections B and F. The LA is in the process of doing so. My question is whether the LA is precluded in law from making the amendments I have requested to Section A at the same time?

    The LA has said it can only do what the Tribunal has ordered it do it and that I will have to wait a year for an annual review to ask for amendments to Section A. My understanding is that as Section A can’t be appealed and does not come within the jurisdiction of the Tribunal, there is nothing in law to preclude the LA from making amendments to Section A now - when they are working on the EHCP to amend Sections B and F. Is this right?

    I know I may be wasting my time arguing a point of principle here, but it feels an important one as the Draft EHCP was very poorly drafted and didn’t even include the full views my daughter had written out herself nor the full information she had given to the LA’s Ed Psych as part of a sentence completion activity. I therefore felt that in not including them in Section A her voice had been ignored, which was contrary to the whole principle of the Code of Practice. I have been asking for these amendments since the poorly written Draft was issued.

    The LA ignored my requests to make the amendments during the exchange of working documents and has now come back with a ‘No’ and an email saying, ‘This can be amended following a future annual review. Legally [we] must stick to the working document and what the Tribunal have ordered us to amend.’ This feels unnecessarily unreasonable but is there anything in law to support their point?

    Any advice gratefully received. Thank you.

    Cherry D
    Parent

    14 Aug 2022

  • The LA has issued the final amended EHC plan following an appeal. Should the LAs decision letter include details of mediation and tribunal as per Reg ...

    ... 14(2) under this scenario?

    Ken Upton
    Talking SENse!

    23 Aug 2022

  • My child’s school is refusing to meet his needs .As part of a now 8 months overdue assessment to update his appalling EHCP an OT assessment took ...

    ... place in March including school observation . The report said he was not currently able to access education , and needed 1to 1 support, different seating in class , and sensory support provision . School have had this information for 3 months , and don’t propose to do anything not even change his seating till September and after the permission of the school governors is given . LA plan writer went long term sick 2 months ago and nobody is answering e mails. This feels illegal as they are not meeting his needs , and LA are so overdue . What action can I take please .

    Jan Brown

    20 Jun 2022

  • Can parents ask for a copy of a school's SEND policy?
    Rachel Amos
    Support SEND Kids

    19 Oct 2021

  • Is it easy to get an assessment for autism?
    Rachel Amos
    Support SEND Kids

    19 Oct 2021

  • Can someone diagnosed with ADHD as a child join the army as an adult?
    Rachel Amos
    Support SEND Kids

    19 Oct 2021

  • Can anyone explain how parents start the EHCP process for children below school age? There are many parents with children, who have conditions ...

    ... identified at birth or in their early years, that would find mainstream education challenging or impossible.

    SEND Kids
    Support SEND Kids

    26 Aug 2022

  • Does anyone have any views what the starting point in weeks is for SEP i.e. speech and language or occupational therapy for a tribunal where ...

    ... independent witness reports support provision much longer than 38 weeks (in relation to Code of Practice 9.55) to meet communication and interaction needs but the tribunal uses a starting point of 38 weeks because it is a school year? note: the child has been home schooled for a year

  • Should parents get ALL reports before an annual review meeting? (We have been told about parents attending annual reviews and only seeing reports for ...

    ... the first time, during the meeting.)

    SEND Kids
    Support SEND Kids

    01 Sep 2022

  • At what point can Mainstream schools decide they are not able to meet the needs of a child? Aged 6 , yr 2, Prob ASD/ ADHD?? Not yet diagnosed , but ...

    ... has now got ECHP.

  • I have become aware of potential discrimination under the Equality Act 2010 following a subject access review about failure to make reasonable ...

    ... adjustments. Some of the activity is beyond 6 months but I have only become aware of the activity recently as a result of the subject access review (under 6 months). If I were to make a claim under the Equality Act would these activities be admissible since I only was made aware of them recently and, more importantly, now have sufficient evidence? I do have a recent example within six months that I can use. Is my understanding correct that I can bring in older evidence to show a pattern? Any potential claim would be made in the context for a child with an EHCP to the SEND Tribunal. Thank you.

  • Can a claim of discrimination be made against an LA for failing to make reasonable adjustments when it does not want to pay for something? My autistic ...

    ... son has an EHCP where a provision was approved by the LA Complex Needs Panel. The LA did not follow the advice of its own panel and did not inform the parents or school of the increased provision. The LA also did not issue a new EHCP which prohibited the family from appealing to the SEND tribunal. In another example, the LA consulted with a new school but refused to pay for his provision after the school accepted my son. My understanding is that if an LA mandated x amount of hours for speech and language therapy in an EHCP and the school did not implement it this would be discrimination. Can the same be true for The LA? Can the LA be held to account for failure to support a child with SEN where the provision is considered reasonable?

  • I met someone in the doctor's surgery this morning who has a non-verbal 4 year old who has just started primary school. The school is unlikely to be ...

    ... able to support her daughter for much longer as she also has severe - but undiagnosed - ADHD. Lambeth referred her to the Mary Sheridan Centre for a diagnosis but they are expecting she will be waiting at least a year for an assessment. She has been asking for help via the GP for several years. If she gets a private diagnosis will this expedite the EHCP or will she waste her money?

    Emily Foges
    Support SEND Kids

    13 Oct 2022

  • My friend is planning to move to Hertfordshire with her 15 year old son who has complex needs. She has identified an appropriate college for him but ...

    ... is hesitating because that college is telling her that she won't get funding from Hertfordshire beyond the age of 19. They referred her to this web page to explain the local authority's policy on funding for children with EHCPs. As far as I can see there is nothing on the website suggesting that he won't be eligible for funding, and in any case surely he is legally entitled to funding until the age of 25 no matter where he lives? https://www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/microsites/local-offer/preparing-for-adulthood/further-education.aspx

    Emily Foges
    Support SEND Kids

    13 Oct 2022

  • Is there any case law about keeping a child on school roll where EOTAS is agreed ? The schools guide indicates that there is an expectation that the ...

    ... school maintains contact and keeps the child on roll but is there any law making this mandatory?

  • It's an incredibly long story, but to keep it as short as I can, whilst including relevant information... 8 year old ADHD son lifted a girl's skirt up ...

    ... at school, not the first time he's done this. Girl said he put a finger up her bum. Her parents informed the police, police questioned her, police told us that he couldn't possibly have done it cos she was fully dressed. Bottom line, can't accuse an 8 year old girl of lying, have to believe she was mistaken. Parents have told all the other parents that he DID do it. Headteacher advised me to keep him off school, can't guarantee his safety, would have to be in isolation if he returned, the other parents had told school they were worried their kids might harm my child out of anger. He's not been expelled, but has been off since 16th November. The work they have sent isn't appropriate for a child with ADHD (videos, no interaction). No eduction, awaiting new school. School issued a statement that there had been an allegation of child on child sexual assault and it was in the hands of other agencies to investigate. That, coupled with my son's absence, makes it look like he's guilty. Suffered a lot of fear and anxiety over the whole thing, scared of going out. Worried about my son's mental health if this isn't cleared up now, he has ADHD, low self esteem, worried this will affect him when he's a teenager and these kids are at same high school. I want school to issue a statement saying he didn't do it, but they said they can't due to confidentiality. Police said slander and libel from parents is a civil matter. I don't have physical proof of either. I will be writing to governors and ofsted. How likely is it that I can get school to inform the parents he didn't do it? Thank you x

    V JR
    Parent

    10 Dec 2022

  • We have Mediation on Monday for refusal to assess, for my 12 year old daughter who is in Y8 and really struggling. Parental request. LA have ...

    ... clearly accepted she has SEN in their refusal letter, so that’s the first hurdle.

    Refusal letter from LA:
    -the evidence presented felt contradictory in that **** has shared she does not feel anxious about school but parents have shared that **** can mask
    -limited evidence from school to support parents view that **** is struggling in school
    -information from school reference academic information very limited
    -panel felt that whilst **** clearly has some additional needs, there seems to be a breakdown in communication between home and school

    The CAMHS report evidenced clearly states her level of anxieties reported many times from my daughter, however the LA felt it was contradictory despite a letter from CAMHS. Nonsense. The first sentence in her ADOS report states ‘**** was contradictory about high school, she said it’s better than primary school as it’s bigger however constantly having to move around for different lessons is very difficult. She denies she is anxious about going INTO school but she dislikes all the people in her form’…

    My daughters CAMHS worker is attending the mediation meeting also.

    I’ve printed every email I’ve sent to school, and 9 times out of 10 not had a response. They really do not care and have also not fed any of these issues to the LA when they have requested information from them.

    Looking for any advice for Monday, I’m well aware it’ll most likely be a fail but I just try. I’ve got a tribunal in January for my other daughter, not quite sure I have it in me to go through to all again 😞

    K Houghton
    Parent

    19 Nov 2022

  • My daughter's EHCP is going through a Phrase Transfer (nursery to Reception) annual review. She is currently repeating nursery at an independent ...

    ... school who are supporting her brilliantly and where we want her to stay for Reception. She has Goldenhar Syndrome which results in a hearing loss and severe speech disorder plus various other things. The upshot is that she needs a full time LSA, SALT and OT provision plus Section F of her current EHCP specifies 'quiet listening conditions with low levels of background noise and reverberation'. The independent school which is our first choice has said they can meet needs conditional on her receiving full time LSA support (current EHCP specifies 30 hrs).

    The LA say they have two state primary schools that can meet needs. Both schools have intakes of 60 children in Reception where all 60 children share the same classroom space. One of the schools has been described as unsuitable by the Teacher of the Deaf. We obtained the offers from each school and actually neither of the offer letters say they can meet all needs, they both say they can meet SOME of her needs but not all. Both also say they would need extra funding from the LA to make changes to the acoustic environment.

    Are we now in a position where the LA do not have a suitable alternative school that can meet needs so they must place her at the independent school that we want and pay for the full package (including fees)? Does 'meeting needs' mean 'meeting all needs' or is there a grey area?

    Christine Long
    N/A

    29 Dec 2022

  • I don’t want school to attend mediation. Refusal to issue. The school see no issues, whereas my daughter is in the verge of EBSA. They have never ...

    ... supported any referrals, despite my persistent requests since reception. I finally paid for a dyslexia assessment in Y3 which identified moderate dyslexia but recommended SALT & ASD assessment. The ASD referral was refused at triage as school information said she was fine. So I paid for those assessments too. She was diagnosed Autistic & SALT highlighted language difficulties, following instructions 0.4 percentile, her other scores were 2 percentile or below apart from 1 which was 40 percentile which is how SALT thought her lack of understanding was being missed. I have seen via SAR school stating my child has no issues & that it is me. The mediation company have invited the school and the Headteacher & SENDCO are attending. I really don’t want them there but the Mediation company said they have to. I also asked for just one decision maker from the LA attend but I have been told the manager & case worker have to attend. I have also been diagnosed Autistic & I feel intimidated. I thought it was up to the parties in the mediation to request who is invited, not the mediator.

    M H

    20 Jan 2023

  • Someone in my community has a child in reception with complex social issues and potentially ASD. She is classified as non-verbal although she does ...

    ... have some verbal communication now. Her school have been clear since September that they can't support her. Her mother has applied to 14 specialist schools, none of which are prepared to accept her unless she has some intervention which results in her presenting differently. She has a meeting with Lambeth on the 30th January to try and resolve things but understandably has low confidence in a successful outcome. She has been told that she can bring an expert with her to the meeting, who could she ask who would understand the process well enough and doesn't need to be paid? Are there charities who could offer support in this way?

    Emily Foges
    Support SEND Kids

    17 Jan 2023