As a top 100 firm with an education law specialism we offer our clients equality of arms in navigating the journey through this complex area of law. As part of our highly regarded Children Law service we provide advice and representation in a wide range of matters including:

  • special educational needs
  • admissions
  • exclusions
  • equality act: disability discrimination
  • complaints
  • bullying
  • school transport
  • actions against schools
  • educational negligence
  • breach of statutory duty
  • non-attendance prosecutions
  • post 16 provision
  • office of the independent adjudicator
  • higher education
  • applicants from overseas

Education cases often encompass wider issues for example child protection, negligence or breach of contract. They may involve specialist areas of litigation such as an application to the High Court for Judicial Review. Russell-Cooke is uniquely poised to work collaboratively across departments to ensure that all aspects are addressed utilising our broad base of highly regarded experts.

The team is ranked Tier 2 by The Legal 500 and "acknowledged as 'excellent' for its specialism in assisting children with special education needs and disabilities" (2019)

Special educational needs

We handle cases for parents of children whose journey through the education system is complicated by disability or learning difficulty such as:

  • ADHD, Aspergers, Autistic Spectrum Disorder, Cerebral Palsy, Cystic Fibrosis, Down Syndrome, Dyslexia, Dyscalculia, Developmental Coordination delay (DCD Dyspraxia), Fragile X syndrome, Oppositional Defiance Disorder ODD, Pathological Demand Avoidance, Pervasive Developmental Delay, Sensory Processing Disorder, Speech and Language delay, Spinal Muscular Atrophy, Muscular Dystrophy, hearing and visual impairments as well as undiagnosed complex needs.

We recognise that the Local Authority do not always have sufficient regard to the legal framework within which they operate and may have conflicting interests. Schools and parents may see a child’s needs differently and disagree about the provision or reasonable adjustments required to meet them. We really understand that navigating what can be a daunting and even hostile terrain is both challenging and emotionally draining not least when you already have so much to cope with. We therefore seek to ally with you to resolve issues swiftly and where possible by way of amicable negotiation.  Where this is not possible however we are robust in pursuing your legal remedy where appropriate working with leading experts including educational psychologists, paediatricians, psychiatrists, neurologists, speech and language therapists, occupational therapists, physiotherapists and specialist barristers.


We advise and represent at appeal parents of children who have been refused a place at their first choice school. Including:

  • infant class size
  • junior
  • secondary
  • grammar
  • in-year admissions
  • applicants from overseas
  • out of catchment or priority area

When things go wrong

Issues of bullying, discrimination and exclusion can substantially interfere with a child’s ability to access the education to which they are entitled. We empower parents with the advice and representation they need to protect their child and to challenge decisions by way of:

  • complaints to schools
  • appeal to governing bodies
  • appeal to independent review panel     
  • complaints to the secretary of state for education        
  • equality act claim for disability discrimination
  • complaint to local Government Ombudsman
  • office of the adjudicator (higher education)

Our team understand that you know what is best for your child and instruct us safe in the knowledge that we are committed to working alongside you to achieve the very best possible outcome.

For further information or to discuss your situation in more detail please contact Eva Akins.

Russell-Cooke ranked as Top 25 family law firm in UK

Russell-Cooke has been recognised as one of the Top 25 Family Law Firms in the UK by eprivateclient, a leading news service for private client practitioners.

We offer a range of costs packages including some fixed fees and we will discuss whether these are appropriate for your case when you call us.

Charges are usually based on our hourly rates plus administrative charges and disbursements. We will provide you with an initial estimate of your likely legal costs and will update this as your requirements or the circumstances of the work change.

The Department for Education

The Department for Education was formed on 12 May 2010 and is responsible for education and children's services. All statutory guidance and legislation linked to from this site continues to reflect the current legal position unless indicated otherwise, but may not reflect Government policy.

The Local Government Ombudsman (LGO)

The Local Government Ombudsman looks at complaints about councils and some other authorities and organisations, including education admissions appeal panels. It is a free service.

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First Tier Tribunal (Special Educational Needs and Disability) (SEND)

Parents whose children have special educational needs can appeal to the First-tier Tribunal (Special Educational Needs and Disability) against decisions made by Local Education Authorities in England about their children's education.

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IPSEA independent Panel

IPSEA is a national charity providing free legally based advice to families who have children with special educational needs. Advice is given by trained volunteers.

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The National Attention Deficit Disorder Information and Support Service

The National Attention Deficit Disorder Information and Support Service provides information and resources about Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder to anyone who needs assistance - parents, sufferers, teachers or health professionals.

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Advisory Centre for Education (ACE

Advisory Centre for Education (ACE) provides independent advice and information for parents on education issues in England.

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British Dyslexia Association

The British Dyslexia Association (BDA) campaigns for a dyslexia friendly society where barriers to dyslexic people do not exist. The BDA works to ensure that ALL people with dyslexia fulfil their potential.

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Mencap works with people with a learning disability to change laws, challenge prejudice and support them to live their lives as they choose

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UK ADHD Partnership

The UK ADHD Partnership (UKAP) was established in January 2013 by mental health and allied professionals who share an interest in improving outcomes and securing better futures for children and young people affected by Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), together with their carers and families. The Partnership brings together practitioners with a wealth of experience from a range of services who are committed to raising awareness and understanding about ADHD and fostering positive outcomes.

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National Autistic Society

National Autistic Society is a leading UK charity for people with autism (including Asperger syndrome) and their families. They provide information, support and services, and campaign for a better world for people with autism

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