Education Case Studies
Abdi and Assad’s Story
Abdi and Assad fled with their mother from the civil war in Somalia to the UK. Their mother made numerous applications at various schools for them. None of the schools in the borough would offer them places because they did not believe their ages in spite of the fact that an immigration judge had ruled that they were 11 and 12 years old respectively. They then spent seven months out of education. Their mother contacted Just For Kids Law and we liaised with the Local Authority. Places were made available at secondary schools for both boys within six weeks.
Lucy is 10. She is on the autistic spectrum, has ADHD and has been measured in the bottom 1 percentile for literacy in her age group. She has a Statement of Special Educational Needs and is unable to read. The Local Authority said there were no available places at the special schools in her area so she would either have to travel two hours a day to an out of borough school, or go to a mainstream school. Her parents were horrified as they knew she was too vulnerable to cope at mainstream secondary school. We managed to negotiate that an additional place be made available at her school of her choice and for the Local Authority to fund an extra Learning Support Assistant at the school to make this possible. Lucy was delighted as her best friend had also accepted a place at this school.
Fahad is 12. He was being bullied at school. One day an on-site police officer reported that he had seen Fahad chasing one of the bullies with a pair of scissors. Later two officers arrived at his home and arrested him. He was handcuffed and taken to the police station where he was charged with possession of an offensive weapon. The school told his mother he was at risk of permanent exclusion and she contacted JfK. We liaised with the school and the local authority and facilitated a “managed move” to a nearby school. This also avoided having permanent exclusion on his record. He is now getting on well at his new school and the charge against him was dropped.
Evan is a highly gifted boy who is on the autistic spectrum. He is 12. His family emigrated to New Zealand. He was so severely bullied at his new school there that they returned to the UK. There was, however, no place available for Evan. After six weeks at home with his mother he was eventually provided with a Personal Tutor for two hours per week. His behaviour rapidly deteriorated and he started self harming. JfK intervened and after two Mediation Meetings with the Local Authority lawyers he was offered a place at a specialist autistic centre that integrates into a mainstream school. At JfK’s request, his mother was offered Direct Payments so that she could arrange short breaks/respite for Evan and so she could spend some quality time with her husband and other child.
Ricky is six. In April 2009 he was permanently excluded. He has Special Educational Needs and was on School Action Plus programme. He had been at the school since nursery but in Year 2 his behaviour worsened and the school permanently excluded him. His mother felt this was because her relationship with the Head Teacher had broken down. JfK appealed to the Independent Appeals Panel and argued that:
- it was not lawful to exclude a child because of the breakdown in relationship between Head teacher and the mother;
- the school should have dealt with the problem by way of a managed move to another school that could meet his needs; and
- a referral for a Special Educational Needs statement should have been made.
The Independent Appeal Panel agreed with our representations and overturned the permanent exclusion, which is now no longer on Ricky’s school record.
See letter of thanks attached
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