Fair treatment for disabled children

Links to FRG online advice for family and friends carers about education

Introduction to SEN(D)
Getting extra help for a child with SEN(D)

Assessments of a child's SEN(D)
Appealing against SEN(D) assessment

FRG education advice for family and friends carers homepage
Key information about the education system
Early years and pre-school education
Choosing a school and getting a place
Working in partnership with the school
What happens if a child does not attend school
What happens if a child is excluded from school
Help with Further and Higher Education
Where to get further information

Equality for disabled children

Under the Equality Act 2010, schools are required to have a written accessibility strategy for disabled pupils,(i) and an accessibility plan. They must not discriminate against, harass or victimise disabled pupils in their admissions procedures, or the way they provide education and other services.(ii)

If you are raising a disabled child, and you feel that the child has been treated unfairly on the grounds of disability, you can make a complaint to the governors of the school, or the academy trust or governing body if the school is an academy. Young people over the age of 16 can complain in their own right. If you or the young person are not happy with the response, you should contact the local authority if the school is maintained, or the Education Funding Agency if it is an academy.

If you are not happy with the response to your complaint, you can take the complaint to the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal (SENDIST) in England or the SEN Tribunal Wales (SENTW) in Wales (young people over the age of 16 can also take their complaint to the tribunal). This has to be within six months of the date that the conduct that is being complained about took place, although the date may be deferred for three months if the dispute is referred for conciliation; the tribunals are also authorised to consider complaints which are outside the time limit if they so choose, but they are not obliged to. However please note that the tribunals will not deal with complaints relating to permanent exclusions from maintained schools or state-funded schools if they occurred on or before 31 August 2012.

If the Tribunal finds in your favour, it can make an order for action to be taken to address the issue raised by the complaint. This includes complaints about the part of the Statement where the school is named, and the tribunal can order a change of school if you have applied for a particular one and been unfairly refused a place. However it cannot order payment of compensation.(iii)

Further information

Independent Parental Special Education Advice (IPSEA)
Coram Children's Legal Centre Special Educational Needs
ACE Education Special Educational Needs
The Information, Advice and Support Services Network (IASS Network)
SEND: Guide for parents and carers
Special SEND code of practice 0 to 25 years: Statutory guidance (2014)
Special Education Needs: Code of Practice (2001)

(i) Schedule 10, Equality Act 2010
(ii) s85 Equality Act 2010
(iii) Schedule 17, Equality Act 2010