The Law and Education

We bring specialist legal advice – and outstanding results – to families and children with Special Educational Needs (SEN).

Our team is ready to listen to your concerns and then advise you, offering practical ways to resolve issues with the local authority and schools. This may include representing you in appeals to the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal.

Our record of success is achieved through:

  • Our extensive experience working on education cases for more than two decades, across a huge range of special educational needs and disabilities
  • Our close relationships with experts in the field and independent special schools
  • Our diverse expertise that covers both education and social care obligations towards children with complex needs

By working closely with parents and young people, we aim to resolve cases through negotiation wherever possible and secure the best outcomes for families.

We can help with

  • Requests for assessments
  • Appeals to the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal
  • A Statement of consequence of instructing SEN to EHCP
  • Annual and experts changes to Statements and EHCPs
  • Transitions from where a child has SEN
  • Appeals to the Upper Tribunal
  • School transport for children with SEN
  • Disability discrimination
  • School attendance where a child has SEN
  • Finding a school for your child with SEN

How it works

If you need help with an education case, don’t hesitate to contact us.

After an initial consultation, we’ll agree what you need us to deal with on your behalf. We will then provide a written estimate of our costs and expenses, which may include:

  • Experts fees
  • Barristers fees
  • Travel expenses

Of course, we’ll keep you regularly updated on these costs and can provide various payment options.

All of our education work is privately funded. If you think you could be eligible for legal aid, see the Civil Legal advice Gateway.

Let us support you in finding an effective resolution.

Call us on 01329823322 or click here to get in touch.

If you have any questions regarding the law in education, or to book an initial consultation, please contact one of our specialists below.

  • Sarah Palmer
    Sarah PalmerEmail Direct

    Since training with Blake Lapthorn (now Blake Morgan) and qualifying as a solicitor in 1990, Sarah became a Member of the Law Society’s Children’s Panel (1993) and dealt with a range of family law cases.

    She founded The Children’s Legal Practice in 2004 to provide specialist advice on children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities and care proceedings. Today, she helps the families of children with significant disabilities secure specialist educational provision and assists those involved in the care system.

    Outside work, she enjoys spending time with her family, walking her dog, and football.

  • Anna McLoughlin
    Anna McLoughlinEmail Direct

    Anna has worked in the legal profession for more than eight years and has been a graduate member of Cilex since 2014. Her role at The Children’s Legal Practice involves supporting the education team led by Sarah Palmer.

    Day-to-day, Anna brings her unique empathy and sensitivity to working with clients, experts, and the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal. She has also been involved in liaison with counsel instructed and is in regular contact with local authorities.

    Beyond work, Anna enjoys walking her dogs, the cinema, and travel.

  • Shannen Dewis
    Shannen DewisEmail Direct

    Shannen qualified as a Solicitor in 2020 and joined the Children’s Legal Practice in June 2020. She specialises in providing advice to children and families with Special Educational Needs.

    Shannen has worked within the legal profession for over 5 years and has gained a multitude of experience in a variety of complex cases.

    Outside of work, Shannen enjoys being outside exercising, watching football and drinking coffee.

As to solicitors: Sarah Palmer, the Children’s Legal Practice, Fareham. I had four separate recommendations from individual members of Chambers for this lady. One says: “a true expert of many years standing”, another says “Sarah Palmer would be perfect”.

I realise that Fareham is a bit of a slog and I still have a couple of people making inquiries as to solicitors closer to Cheltenham – but the strength of recommendation for Sarah Palmer is impressive. Barristers don’t tend to dish out that kind of praise lightly.


“If you require expert advice from a professional firm in relation to your child’s educational needs, I would have no hesitation in recommending the Children’s Legal Practice.

Our son is now flourishing at his new school which is a direct result of the advice and help we received from Sarah Palmer at the firm.

As a family, we are all so much happier, as our son is finally getting the kind of education he so greatly needed”

“I cannot begin to express how much we appreciate your dedicated and thorough approach to our case. Your kindness and patience when listening to my exhausted ramblings/worries and hopes for A really helped me to get through the whole process! You (and your team of experts and brilliant office staff) managed to look at A as a real individual and translate the mountains of information about my child into a real life solution that I have no doubt will benefit all of us for many years to come………….. The provision that you and the barrister secured for us is unbelievable. Thank you so much”

“We instructed Sarah Palmer of CLP on our education matter, due to her expertise in negotiating, and professional relationship, with the LEA. We were close to the SEND Tribunal final hearing date, and needed help at all the final stages to secure the named school and provisions in the EHCP. Sarah spent time discussing the key facts and issues with us, and quickly assessed the strength and merits of our case. We were amazed at the speed with which Sarah progressed the discussions with the LEA, and managed to conclude a settlement resulting in our son being placed at his named specialist non mainstream school without the need for the hearing. We are eternally grateful for all the hard work of the CLP”



CLP pulled together a highly experienced and effective tribunal team consisting of a barrister, educational psychologist and four therapists. The team’s combined expertise and co-ordinated approach brought about a successful placement for our son with complex special needs.

“Sarah Palmer and CLP first supported us in 2008/9, guiding us through the statementing and SENDIST process that culminated in a successful appeal to Tribunal. Their expertise was such that six years on we had no hesitation re-engaging them to guide us through the EHCP process and to conclude a successful negotiation with our LA over sixth form placement without the need to go to Tribunal. We thoroughly recommend them.”


“I instructed Sarah Palmer on the recommendation of a friend during an appeal against refusal to assess my child for a statement of SENs in 2014. My initial contact was via email, Sarah telephoned me for a quick discussion and got straight to the heart of the matter. We moved smoothly from being in an extremely difficult position to the case being conceded pre-tribunal. A further appeal was lodged against the content of the statement. Again there were complicating factors but Sarah steered us expertly through a very stressful process and once again our case was conceded pre-tribunal. The final outcome was a well written statement with a placement at a specialist school which, a year later, has proved to be an amazing step forward for my child. I am therefore very happy to recommend Sarah and the CLP team for their work in this field.”


“Be careful who you listen to….
We were told by teachers that it was highly unlikely that our son (ADHD / Dyslexia) would qualify for a SEN statement (now EHCP) that would have any specific support provision. Frankly we didn’t know what to do until we were recommended Sarah Palmer by a friend. It wasn’t an easy process, but our son is now attending a specialist school with appropriate class sizes and on-site OT and SALT professionals.”


“Sarah Palmer at the Children’s Legal Practice helped us with both the primary and secondary school transition process for our daughter who has a severe speech & language disorder. On both occasions Sarah provided straightforward, helpful and relevant advice. Her vast experience in this area resulted in successful school placements without tribunals. Due to Sarah’s services our daughter is now in a school where she is happy and thrives in.”


“Have already used CLP again in another case and have recommended to individual Guardians particularly in relation to children with additional needs. Sarah Palmer’s expertise and interest in children with additional needs is excellent and a useful resource when representing children. Will be making this point to the team generally at our next team meeting.”

Children's Guardian - JS

“CLP provided straightforward, helpful, and relevant advice. Due to CLP, our daughter is now in a school where she is happy and thrives.”


“CLP were very friendly every time I rang for help. I couldn’t ask for a better solicitor in a very hard situation.”