Plenty of notice

1st October 2004 at 01:00
Q I am a senior local education authority officer. Following a review of all of our schooling, we are proposing to reorganise our special school provision so as to close one school, open a new school and merge two others. Opinion in our area is divided, with some parents supporting the new arrangements, but others opposing it. In particular, those who oppose it say that we cannot do this until we have made appropriate provision for the children who are attending the schools which will be affected. What is the position?

A School reorganisation is a detailed and complex area of law which requires comprehensive consultation and consideration by a school organisation committee and, ultimately, a school adjudicator.

Sometimes these legal arrangements appear to come up against the detailed legal provisions governing children with statements of special educational needs.

The issue is not straightforward but, generally, it is not essential that provision for children with statements is determined before any steps can be taken to reorganise schools.

However, if a decision to close or amalgamate a school has been made, a comprehensive review of provision for the children who are likely to be at the school at the time of the change should take place well in advance of the change so that new arrangements are established before the changes arise.

In addition, it is likely that any changes to a child's statement - for example, naming a new school - should be made sufficiently far in advance so as to give parents a right of appeal to a special educational needs and disability tribunal, before the change, so that the tribunal can consider the new provision in good time.

David Ruebain is a partner specialising in education and disability discrimination at the law firm Levenes. He is co-author with Jo-Anne Graham of the recently revised Disability Discrimination Act Toolkit, now in its 10th edition, published by Levenes.

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today