A child suffered from a speech disorder and had a learning difficulty. He required special educational provision. The local authority (“LA”) made a Statement of the child’s needs including individual intensive speech therapy. The LA then went back on this, saying it had only been included in the Statement as the result of an administrative error or oversight, and sought to exclude the provision of speech therapy from the Statement on the basis that it was not special educational provision within the meaning of the Education Act 1981 (the relevant law at the time). The High Court declared that the original Statement had been properly made and that speech therapy was a special educational provision. The LA appealed.

The Court of Appeal dismissed the LA's appeal that teaching a child to communicate by speech was no different from teaching him to communicate by writing and both were educational. The provision of speech therapy was special educational provision.

This case law is applicable to EHC plans.  Section 21(5) of the Children and Families Act 2014 specifically provides that “health care provision or social care provision which educates or trains a child or young person is to be treated as special educational provision (instead of health care provision or social care provision)”. Paragraph 9.74 of the SEN and Disability Code of Practice now states:

Speech and language therapy and other therapy provision can be regarded as either education or health care provision, or both. It could therefore be included in an EHC plan as either educational or health provision. However, since communication is so fundamental in education, addressing speech and language impairment should normally be recorded as special educational provision unless there are exceptional reasons for not doing so.

No case report is available online.

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