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Maintaining Statement of Special Educational Needs

Towards the end of last year the Court of Appeal ruled that a Local Authority’s duty to maintain a student’s Statement of Special Educational Needs does not extend past the age of 19.  In the case of Essex County Council v Williams, the Court of Appeal held that Essex County Council was not required to maintain a Statement of Special Educational Needs for a student with Down’s syndrome who was over the age of 19. 

The student had had a Statement of Special Educational Needs maintained by the Council since the age of 3.

She was informed by the Council that as she was above the age limit of the school that she was currently attending and may not be re-admitted that the Council’s duty to maintain her Statement of Special Educational Needs would shortly cease.  They also advised her that her educational needs could be better met at a local college with people of her own age.  Her parents appealed the decision but the Court of Appeal held that the Council was not bound to maintain her Statement of Special Educational Needs as the definition of a “child” should be given its ordinary meaning and would not apply to somebody of the student’s age.  Also the Court of Appeal held that the Council was not required to make a formal reviewable statement in order to do this.

About the author

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Joanne Stronach

Joanne Stronach is joint Head of Burnetts' Employment Law & HR team.

Published: Friday 13th January 2012
Categorised: Education, Employment

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