Ensuring the wellbeing of pupils is one of the biggest responsibilities that schools shoulder. For newly converted academies in particular, dealing with complex pupil welfare issues without local authority support can be daunting. Getting it wrong can be time-consuming, costly and upsetting for the people involved.
Our team of education lawyers is recognised as the leading team nationally for pupil welfare and compliance issues. Hugely experienced, with a first rate understanding of the practicalities and complexities in this area, we can help with:
Policies and Inspections - we offer a range of template policies and procedures which are designed to reflect the legal requirements that apply to academies and maintained schools. These documents are regularly reviewed by our lawyers to ensure that they are up to date with new legal developments. Members of the HR and Legal Services Retainer receive a free annual review of their statutory pupil policies.
Exclusions - we can advise on all aspects of the exclusion process and provide a full service to the Independent Appeal Panel, including the appointment and training of the Independent Appeal Panel.
SEN and Disability - our team is unique in the strength and depth of our understanding and experience of the legal issues surrounding SEN and disability, with practical experience gained from having advised both schools and local authorities. We are able to provide advice on the requirement to make "reasonable adjustments", on the issues relating to the assessment and statementing process and to those who need assistance once an Appeal has been lodged with the First Tier Tribunal (HESC). We also have years of experience of defending claims for disability discrimination on behalf of schools and academies.
Complaints - we regularly advise on complaints by parents and pupils, from the first expression of concern through to the formal complaints panel.
At some point in a school or an academy trust's life, it can find itself dealing with a critical incident involving a pupil. We have extensive experience of providing professional support in situations which may involve safeguarding, tragic events, health and safety, criminal activity, often accompanied by intensive media coverage. We know that when the unforeseen happens you need practical advice, often out of normal office hours. We also have good working relationships with key regulators and are experienced at challenging their decisions where necessary or desirable.
Our experience tells us that early intervention and advice around pupil welfare issues saves schools valuable time and resources. Knowing you can call us before a problem escalates is not only reassuring - it makes sound financial sense.
Technically impressive and good at providing practical advice in plain English.