Shoosmiths made their Colmore Square offices available on 28 February 2018 to allow the Birmingham-based National Institute of Conductive Education (NICE) to host a reception event aimed partly at informing parents of their right to council funding for conductive education.
Conductive Education is based on the work of Hungarian Professor András Pető who developed the system for children and adults with motor disorders and neurological injuries such as cerebral palsy.
The individual teacher (called a conductor) teaches the child the importance of movement skills when learning mathematics, sitting skills when learning to read and write and self-care skills such as dressing, eating and toileting as well as giving specialised sessions to help with the development of fine motor skills and speech.
Shoosmiths first became involved with NICE when the firm’s education law experts did a pro-bono education tribunal appeal work for a client. The Birmingham medical negligence team are also familiar with the good work of NICE through their handling of birth injury and cerebral palsy cases and the support that conductive education can give in these circumstances.
Since then the law firm has been an enthusiastic supporter of the charity, with a team of volunteers giving the gardens of the NICE Centre for Movement Disorder in Moseley a makeover in 2016, providing an enjoyable playtime space for staff and pupils and sensory stimulation for the disabled children attending NICE’s school and pre-school groups.
Shoosmiths also sponsored the charity’s ‘Red Boots Ball’ in October 2017 which raised £34,000 to help continue the work of teaching children and adults with neurological movement disorders to gain greater control of their bodies.
Gurvinder Samra, a specialist in the firm’s education law team, gave a talk at the reception event highlighting cases where children and adults have benefited from intervention by NICE as well as plans for future collaboration with the charity.
The main issue many parents face is ensuring that the educational provision delivered by NICE is included in the Education Health and Care plan (EHCP). The EHCP must detail a child’s educational needs and the provision that they require to meet those needs.
Any support identified in this document - including provision by NICE - must be arranged and funded by the council. Securing that council funding for placements at NICE is not always easy, as the council are hesitant to recognise NICE, often due to constraints on budget.
‘We have held seminars at NICE advising parents how to enforce their rights in securing funding from the council for their placements at the National Institute of Conductive Education as part of an Education Health and Care plan. We hope this event further reinforced that message because we know from our own experience across our medical negligence and education law teams just how much of a difference the work of NICE can make to a youngster’s life.’