L v Clarke and Somerset County Council (1997) [1998] ELR 129

The parents of a boy with dyslexia appealed to the Tribunal against parts 3 and 4 of his statement. Their concern with part 3 was that it failed to set out the number of hours of help the boy should receive under the statement. The Tribunal refused to order that the statement be made more specific by the help being quantified and the parents appealed to the High Court on this point, which they considered to be an error in law.

The judge ruled:

“A requirement that the help to be given should be specified in the statement in terms of hours per week was not an absolute and universal precondition of the legality of a statement ... however ... in very many cases it will not be possible to fulfil the requirement to specify the special educational provision considered appropriate to meet the child’s needs, including specification of staffing arrangements and curriculum, unless hours per week are set out.”

“In very many cases it will not be possible to fulfil the requirement to specify the special educational provision considered appropriate to meet the child’s needs, including specification of staffing arrangements and curriculum, unless hours per week are set out.”

The same principles will apply to the section of an EHC plan which sets out special educational provision (Section F). Paragraph 9.69 of the SEN and Disability Code of Practice 2014 specifically refers to and confirms the application of the principles in this case. For example under Section F, it says “Provision must be detailed and specific, and should normally be quantified, for example, in the terms of the type, hours and frequency of support and level of expertise...  This is a principle which comes directly from this case.

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