The parent of D appealed against a decision of the First-tier Tribunal that D would not to be educated at their choice of secondary school.

D had special educational needs and had a Statement. Rejecting the parent’s choice of school, the First-tier Tribunal concluded that placing D there would have an impact on the efficiency of the education of the other children such as to make his attendance incompatible with the provision of efficient education. The school (a maintained mainstream school) had already accepted applications over its admissions number for the relevant year and the number of Statemented pupils had placed a strain on the staff and prevented them from fully meeting the needs of pupils with and without Statements.

The parent appealed to the Upper Tribunal, which held:

There needed in the circumstances to be some clear identification of just what difference it was found that D's admission (not the admission of all four children with appeals pending) would have and to the efficient education of which children... so as to meet the strong test of incompatibility.”

The reference to the “strong test of incompatibility” means the test is a high threshold for the local authority. Therefore, the tribunal will expect clear evidence of the difference the admission of an extra child or young person will make, and which pupils will be affected. The Upper Tribunal overturned the First-tier Tribunal’s decision.

The full case report for NA v London Borough of Barnet [2010] UKUT 180 (AAC) can be viewed online.

For more information, see our section on choosing a school when you have an EHC plan.