Douglas is a specialist SEN support solicitor, advising and assisting parents and young people on a variety of education issues, with a particular focus on appeals to the Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Tribunal and ECHP negotiations. Douglas has diagnoses of autism and ADHD, which although presenting challenges to him, also present strengths and give him a high level of insight into what his clients’ children go through.
With over nine years of experience as an education law solicitor, Douglas’ focus is on Education, Health and Care plans – ensuring they secure the right provision and placement for the child or young person. As part of this process, Douglas also ensures that they are worded robustly and protect the child or young person in the future. He also provides services concerning section 444 attendance issues, care issues, admissions appeals, disability discrimination, exclusions appeals, higher education and disability benefits.
One of Douglas’s key competencies as a solicitor is in the ‘working document’ stage, where both parties negotiate an EHCP’s wording. He attributes his extreme attention to detail and perfectionist approach in this area to his neurodivergence, an example of it being a blessing rather than a curse in a professional context, which Douglas is keen for his clients’ children to experience.
Douglas has also developed expertise in connection with Education Otherwise Than At School (EOTAS). He represents clients to secure highly bespoke EOTAS packages, often for children who have reached autistic burnout or a prohibitive state of anxiety. EOTAS can be achieved both through section 61 of the Children and Families Act 2014, by way of an EHCP, and also through section 19 of the Education Act 1996, a lesser-known route that can yield results in urgent circumstances. He also advises clients on elective home education (EHE).
Douglas has successfully appealed to have children placed in numerous specialist settings, including the following:
- Grateley House School (weekly residential).
- Swalcliffe Park School (weekly residential).
- Hurst Lodge School.
- Unicorn School.
- Moor House School and College.
- Blossom House School.
- Side by Side School.
- Gesher School.
- Hardwick House.
Douglas has secured placements at dozens of other special schools around the country, as well as securing numerous EOTAS packages.
Douglas takes every one of his cases extremely seriously and puts maximal efforts into helping clients identify the best school or educational route for their child and fighting tenaciously to achieve the results they need.