Tower Hamlets July 20 Composite 600

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High Court to hear judicial review challenge this week over cuts by London borough to SEN provision

The High Court will this week hear a legal challenge to the London Borough of Waltham Forest’s decision to cut funding for special educational needs (SEN) provision.

According to claimant law firm Irwin Mitchell, the council announced in March that it would be decreasing funding for pupils with Educational, Health and Care Plans by 10%, where they attend a mainstream school and where they receive funding in either “band E” or “band F”.

A two-day judicial review hearing will be held remotely by the High Court on 29 and 30 July.

Irwin Mitchell, which is acting for two families affected by the changes, argues that Waltham Forest’s decision to cut funding was unlawful and that the cuts would leave children in a position where the provision outlined in their EHC plans cannot be provided to them, placing the council in breach of its legal duties.

Caroline Barrett, Senior Associate Solicitor at Irwin Mitchell, said: “This is an important case about the rights of children to receive properly funded special educational needs support in school. It is understandably a concerning time for the families and schools affected by the funding cuts imposed by Waltham Forest Council. The families strongly believe it will have a detrimental impact upon their children, as schools will be provided with less money to meet the requirements set out in their individual EHC plans.

“The council has said that schools can apply for further funding if the cuts impact upon the children’s provision, but it is unclear how this would work as there is currently no process in place. We have heard from a number of parents in the borough who are already concerned about a lack of provision for their children, and they fear that these cuts will only make things worse.”

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