S was severely dyslexic and had been attending a local authority (“LA”) community secondary school. An assessment of S under the Education Act 1996 was initiated (what is now an EHC needs assessment). S's parents registered S with an independent fee paying school specialising in children with special educational needs. The final Statement in respect of S recommended that the contents of S's individual educational plan should be negotiated with S and the LA school was specified under placement in part 4. The parents appealed on the basis that the Statement was insufficient.

It was decided, allowing the appeal, that a requirement that the help to be given to each child be specified in the Statement was not a universal precondition of a valid Statement; some flexibility was permitted. However, a high degree of specificity was nevertheless required. Under the s. 324(3)(a) Education Act 1996 (now replaced by s. 37(2) Children and Families Act 2014), the Statement was required to give details of the child's special educational needs and to specify the provision to be made. Regulation 13 of the Education (Special Educational Needs) Regulations 1994 (now replaced by Regulation 12 of the Special Educational Needs and Disability Regulations 2014) was plainly mandatory in relation to the contents of a Statement. The Statement (or EHC plan) should be:

So specific and so clear as to leave no room for doubt as to what has been decided is necessary in the individual case. Very often specification of hour per week will no doubt be necessary and there will be a need for that to be done.

The Statement in this case was insufficient, making no specific provision as to the nature of the support and the number of hours required.

This case was confirmed as good law for those with EHC Plans in East Sussex County Council v TW [2016] UKUT 528.

No case report is available online.

For more information, see the section on what an EHC plan should contain.