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Rook Irwin Sweeney are extremely knowledgeable and committed to what they do. They are efficient, polite and patient, as well as effective. Chambers & Partners 2023, Education

All work undertaken by the Rook Irwin Sweeney team is seamless. They are very responsive to client queries and very prompt with responses.Chambers & Partners 2023, Education

Bringing with them many years of experience, the education practice has a particular focus on individuals with disabilities. – Legal 500 2023, Tier 2, Education

Polly Sweeney is one of the most highly rated education solicitors. She takes on groundbreaking and legally significant cases.’ Legal 500, 2023

James Betts – one of the best education lawyers in the UK. I recommend him to anyone who wants a solicitor. He is very efficient and well organised; has excellent legal skills; and is very good at achieving a practical outcome using the law.’ Legal 500, 2023

They are very approachable and considerate towards clients and are committed to getting the best outcome… the firm “has it’s finger on the pulse for EHC plan appeals – Chambers & Partners, 2022


Our solicitors are some of the country’s leading specialists in education law and children’s human rights.

We have a national reputation for bringing legal challenges that not only make a positive difference to disabled children and their families but affect real change within the education system.

The team are recognised by the Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners guides as specialists in all areas of education law including appeals to the Tribunal regarding Education, Health and Care Plans (‘EHCPs’).

Special Educational Needs

We are experts in special educational needs  and disabilities (“SEND”) law and our team has a strong track record for securing positive outcomes for children and young people.

We provide advice, assistance and legal representation on all aspects of SEND law including:

  • Appeals and claims to the SEND Tribunal including:
    • Appeals to secure an Education Health and Care (“EHC”) needs assessment
    • Challenging decisions not to issue an EHCP
    • Appealing an EHCP to secure additional support, a change of school or home based education programmes
    • Challenging cease to maintain decisions
    • Appeals to the Upper Tribunal
    • Claims for disability discrimination, for example, following a fixed or permanent exclusion or failure to make a reasonable adjustment.

Our solicitors are able to provide advice and support at any stage including:

  • Supporting you to request an EHC assessment
  • Providing advice and support when replying to a draft EHCP
  • Preparing for and attending annual reviews
  • Support and attendance at mediation
  • Instructing expert witnesses such as Educational Psychologists, Speech and Language Therapists, Occupational Therapists and Physiotherapists
  • Advice around transfers between different local authority areas or legal jurisdictions

Our additional knowledge and experience in health and social care law ensures we are able to provide a holistic service to achieve the very best outcomes for our clients.

We provide clear and transparent pricing structures and fee estimates including fixed fees where appropriate.

Judicial Review

Our solicitors have acted in many of the leading education judicial reviews over the last decade. We have particular expertise in bringing strategic legal challenges and work closely with charities and campaign groups.

We are also able to provide advice and assistance with challenges against individual decisions of public bodies such as local authorities. In an education context this might include:

  • Challenging SEND funding cuts
  • Failures to provide education for children who are not able to attend school
  • Failures to provide the special educational provision set out in a child’s EHCP
  • Failure to complete the annual review process and issue EHCPs within statutory timescales
  • Provision of suitable school transport
  • Unlawful use of restraint, seclusion or other restrictive practices
  • Unlawful exclusions and off-rolling

We offer a range of funding options for these cases including fixed fees where appropriate.

Schools and Colleges

Our solicitors have significant expertise in providing advice and representation to schools and colleges on all aspects of education law including:

  • Special Educational Needs and Disability – including advice around Education, Health and Care Plans and fundingSafeguarding
  • School attendance
  • Admissions
  • Exclusions
  • Complaints
  • Data Protection
  • Duties under the Equality Act 2010
  • Advice and representation in disability discrimination claims

We are passionate about working with schools and colleges that share our values. We support our clients to understand their legal duties and responsibilities. We seek to achieve positive outcomes where litigation is always a last resort.

We understand the pressures that schools face and that sometimes it is necessary to challenge decisions made by other public bodies. Our team has significant experience in representing schools in challenges against OFSTED, the Department of Education, and local authorities. Including through Judicial Review.

We work in close partnership with our clients to provide clear advice on their legal options and costs, to enable them to take a strategic decision in the interests of the school and its pupils.

We are committed to supporting our clients, we also offer bespoke training to all our school and college clients. Please contact us for further information.

With all areas of education law there are often strict time limits for bringing a legal challenge. We always advise clients to seek initial legal advice as early as possible to ensure that you understand the time limits that might apply to any claim should it be necessary.

Want to contact us?

If you would like further information about the services we provide or to contact us about a case, we’re here.

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