New guide for families dealing with disability discrimination

Charity Support SEND Kids has announced the launch of a new digital guide for SEND families on disability discrimination in education.

The guide, authored by Talem Law, is a free public resource to assist all those who deal with special educational needs and disability law – including judges, legal practitioners, local authorities, and parents.
Developed as a high level guide in the series by Mandy Aulak and Sean Kennedy of Talem Law, a law firm that specializes in disability in the classroom as well as employment, the freely available guide is designed to help parents and carers of children with a disability start to understand how the law around Disability Discrimination works in education so that they can request the additional disability related support that their children are legally entitled to.
The Support SEND Kids Disability Discrimination in Education guide provides an initial steer on the legislation around disability discrimination (including how the Equality Act 2010 works in education) and has been drafted with SEND parents in mind, presenting technical detail in an interactive, user-friendly and searchable format. The guide is available as both a pdf and as interactive Q&A on the charity's platform where there are many helpful contributors including lawyers, SEND tribunal specialists and SENCos, all of whom contribute their expertise to others pro bono.
In the same week, Support SEND Kids has supported an update to the No-nonsense ‘Noddy Guide’, a more established guide to SEND law co-authored by barristers from Matrix and Landmark Chambers. This long running guide produced pro-bono by David Wolfe KC and Leon Glenister was hosted by Support SEND Kids for the first time in Q&A in March 2021 and the use of the user-friendly Q&A format has meant that an update has been produced just six months later, the technology enabling a marked acceleration of previous annual updates. This latest update covers all relevant case law to do with SEN (Special Educational Needs) since the last publication in March 2022 ensuring that the SEND community have the very latest case law to help them navigate the often protracted and complex EHCP (Education Health and Care Plan) application process.
By being able to consult the Disability Discrimination in Education Guide alongside the updated Noddy Guide, SEND families can quickly gain a more complete and accurate picture of their legal position, empowering them in their dealings with schools, local authorities and the tribunal system. Where there is cross-over between the two guides that has been made clear and as the No-nonsense guides group increases, SEND families and professionals will be signposted across these different areas.

Many Aulak and Sean Kennedy, founders of Talem Law, said “The challenge of assisting children, young people and adults with the often oppressive disability and other related challenges they face is huge and we are proud to be supporting the Support SEND Kids efforts to bring greater transparency and availability of clear and accurate answers to the SEND community of parents, practitioners and educators. As parents of SEND children ourselves, we know how important this is.”
Rachel Amos, co-founder of Support SEND Kids, said, “SEND parents have to assimilate multiple areas of law on their journey to fulfil their children’s human right to access an education. Our growing pool of free and easy-to-use resources is designed to help SEND parents understand where to focus their efforts so that they can make the right choices for their children at the right time.”
She added, “When it comes to disability provision, it is particularly important that SEND parents aim to get on the front foot, as securing in-school adjustments retrospectively tends to be less successful. For instance, if a school fails to make reasonable adjustments for a child with disabilities on a class outing, there is little that can be done to resolve this after the event. But in contrast, if these entitlements are sought and put in place at the outset, they can provide a robust framework for ongoing, long-term support, potentially continuing into further education and even into the workplace.”
Support SEND Kids intends to expand the content and expertise available via its hub to include guides on other related areas of SEND law, including exclusions, wills and court of protection. Plans are also underway to create a digital workflow for EHCP applications with practical and technical advice for parents.