Best Practice

SEND: Your legal duties

Ahead of his workshop at Nasen Live, legal expert Mark Blois offers some practical reassurance for SEND staff about their legal duties

The legal duties relevant to staff working in the SEND sector are manifold and can be a source of anxiety. The key to being comfortable with your legal duties is to have access to just the right level of information: a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing but too much information can lead to paralysis.

We all have a duty to take reasonable care to avoid causing harm to those around us, and we may find ourselves liable to pay damages if a breach of this duty causes harm.

For schools, the established duty of care goes further: education professionals have a duty to create and maintain an environment which is not only physically safe for pupils, but which also meets their educational needs. Teachers therefore owe a duty of care to all pupils in respect of the way they discharge their teaching responsibilities. Should they fall below the standard expected of them they could face a complaint, or even find themselves in court defending a “failure to educate” claim.

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