We have a team of experienced practitioners in education law and have appeared in some of the leading cases in the area. The team has experienced rapid growth in recent years, both in terms of the range of our work and in the number of our practitioners. As a result we are able to service a wide range of clients, for work at all levels.
Areas of work include:
Special educational needs
We regularly advise and represent clients in appeals concerning SEN. Many of our cases involve high value mixed packages of education, health and care. We have particular experience in provision for autism and cerebral palsy and the transition to post 16 provision.
We act in disciplinary proceedings, complaints to the OIA and judicial reviews of college, university and OIA decisions. We have experience of Equality Act claims involving universities in the areas of disability, age, gender and religion. Members of the group have advised on student finance issues.
Students’ professional discipline
Serjeants’ Inn is a recognised leader in the field of professional discipline and we are increasingly acting in university proceedings concerning student fitness to practice and academic progress.
Teachers’ professional discipline
Our leading professional discipline team has experience representing teachers in respect of professional disciplinary issues.
School organisation and provision
We regularly advise local authorities, academy groups and independent providers on all aspects of school organisation, funding agreements, statutory and regulatory duties and policies. We have experience of applications to de-register schools and concerning Ofsted and the EFA. We have advised many leading schools and regulators.
Equality Act and Human Rights Act
These statutes arise regularly in our education practice, both as direct claims and as issues in other areas, including judicial review.
School admissions and exclusions
We regularly advise local authorities, academy groups and parents and provide clerking and training to panels.
We are familiar with the practices and procedures of the education sector. This reflects work with local authorities, academy groups, central government and colleges and universities over many years. Our barristers are familiar with the ethos of these organisations, their policies and good practice.
The team also acts for parents, pupils, students and other individuals. We bring the same understanding of the education sector and its interaction with courts and tribunals to that work. We are sensitive to the specific client care needs of individuals facing challenging issues in relation to education.
We have experience of dealing with the majority of the numerous regulators, quality assurance bodies and ombudsmen with jurisdiction in the education sector.
Notable cases include:
- R (Zahid) v University of Manchester, the court determined the procedure for challenging university decisions and bringing complaints to the OIA.
- R (Nyoni) v Secretary of State, a challenge to student funding decisions by the Secretary of State.
- TW v ESCC, the Upper Tribunal determined the relationship of education and social care in EHC plans for students over 19.
- R (Gopikrishna) v Office of Independent Adjudicator, a judicial review of the higher education ombudsman considering the proper approach to errors by university panels.
- TB v Essex County Council, the meaning of the word “school” in the Education Acts when naming schools in statements of SEN.
- R (ota Mustafa) v Office of Independent Adjudicator, the meaning of the term “academic judgment” and the limits of the jurisdiction of the OIA.
- LS v Oxfordshire, relevance of academy conversion to issuing a statement of SEN.
- ML v Kent, the extent of the duty on exam boards and schools under Equality Act 2010 to make adjustments to public examinations.
- NA v Barnet the meaning of “incompatible with the efficient education of others”
- The Independent Schools Council v. Charity Commission, meaning of the phrase “public benefit” and steps that independent schools need to take to qualify as charities.
24 Hour Urgent Advice
Our Education team provides a 24 hour service, 365 days a year to arrange for urgent advice and representation on applications including injunctions. For more details about our emergency service please click here.
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