WHAT IS SUFFICIENT IN TERMS OF MEDICAL EVIDENCE?

EAST SUSSEX CC v. SUSSEX CENTRAL AREA JUSTICES 2019 WL 00237607 (2019)


This is a judgment in a judicial review handed down in January 2019.

  • This is an appeal brought by a local authority against a decision of a magistrates court that parents had a defence to the claim that they had failed to ensure the regular attendance at the school of their son – that defence being reasons of ill-health.
  • The local authority were appealing the magistrates decision on the basis that parents did not have written medical evidence of ill-health for ALL of the absences
  • The administrative court dismissed the LAs appeal on the basis that written medical evidence wasn’t necessary and the oral evidence of parents and other documentary evidence was sufficient to demonstrate ill-health on the balance of probabilities.

EAST SUSSEX CC v. SUSSEX CENTRAL AREA JUSTICES 2019 WL 00237

No absolute requirement to specify a school or institution in EHC Plans

Derbyshire County Council v EM & DM [2019] UKUT 240 (AAC)


The Upper Tribunal held that there is no absolute requirement that all EHC Plans must specify a school or other institution (or type of either) in Section I of an EHC Plan. The Upper Tribunal found that if the local authority thinks that no school or other institution (or type of either) would be appropriate for the child, the ‘naming’ duty under these sections and thus in Section I of the EHC Plan cannot as a matter of law arise.

LGO: Distressed Leeds girl left without proper education for months

  • Leeds City Council left a young girl without proper education for nine months after she started refusing to go to her primary school because of anxiety, the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman has found.
  • The girl, who was 10 when the events started, became increasingly anxious about going to school until the school asked her mother to take her home because she was so distressed.
  • Over the next nine months, the girl was given little education – and at one point her mother had to fund an alternative education placement.
  • When the girl eventually started engaging with the Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) it suggested she had sensory processing difficulties and recommended gathering information for diagnostic tests.

LGO: Failure to arrange alternative educational provision when out of school.

Statutory guidance is clear the Council is ‘responsible for arranging suitable education for permanently excluded pupils, and for other pupils who – because of illness or other reasons – would not receive suitable education without such arrangements being made’.

LGO: Failure to arrange suitable provision for anxious child unable to attend school

Norfolk County Council (18 013 496)

The Council expected the school to continue to meet the need and put the provision specified in the EHC plan in place until a suitable placement was found even once they have told the Council they cannot meet need. This is not acceptable. The duty is on the Council to secure the provision is made. Once it is on notice that the school is not making the provision then the Council must arrange the provision. 

There is a further issue in that the Council was on notice that Y was not attending school because of her anxiety. Where a child cannot attend school because of illness the Council must arrange suitable full-time education. I have seen nothing to show the Council had any regard to its duties to Y in this respect.