Access to Education for Migrant Children

Wednesday 8 September 2021

This webinar is brought to you by the Garden Court Chambers Education Team and the Garden Court Chambers Community Care Team.

Date: Wednesday 8 September 2021
Time: 5pm-6.30pm
Venue: Online  
Cost: Free
Areas of Law: School Inclusion Project (SIP) , Education Law , Community Care Law , Immigration Law

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There are significant barriers to migrant children accessing the support that they need to thrive in life. That includes having the same access to educational opportunities as British children. This webinar looks at the barriers that migrant children face in accessing education and what can be done to challenge these barriers.  


Introduction from Chair - Nicola Braganza, Garden Court Chambers

A view from the frontline - Elaine Sheppard, Education Casework Manager, Love to Learn

Free school meals and the pupil premium - Clare Jennings, Matthew Gold & Co. Ltd. Solicitors

Special Educational Needs & Disability (‘SEND’) provision and the School Inclusion Project - Ollie Persey, Garden Court Chambers

Suitable accommodation Connor Johnston, Garden Court Chambers

Q&A with the panel 




Nicola Braganza, Garden Court Chambers (Chair)
Nicola specialises in Public law, involving human rights, in Equality and Discrimination law, and in Immigration and Asylum law. She has particular expertise in representing highly vulnerable adults and children. She is ranked in the Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners directories in Employment law, for her discrimination work, in Immigration, and in Civil Liberties and Human Rights.

Nicola regularly provides training and workshops and has been an invited speaker at the European Academy of Law on the EU Directives on Equality and Anti-Discrimination for many years. Nicola also sits part-time as an Employment Judge and a First-Tier Tribunal Judge on the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal.

Connor Johnston, Barrister, Garden Court Chambers
Connor specialises in housing, homelessness, asylum support and community care law. The majority of his work is focused on ensuring that his clients, many of whom are vulnerable or destitute, are able to access the accommodation and support that they need. Connor often works on behalf of migrants who are not eligible for mainstream support and he was instructed on behalf of the intervener Shelter in the recent case of R (Ncube) v Brighton and Hove Council, dealing with the provision of accommodation by local authorities during the pandemic to persons with no recourse to public funds. He has been a volunteer advocate at the First-Tier Tribunal (Asylum Support) with the Asylum Support Appeals Project for a number of years, representing applicants who have been refused support under s4 or s95 Immigration and Asylum Act 1999. He is currently working on the forthcoming Migrant Support Handbook for the Legal Action Group.

Ollie Persey, Barrister, Garden Court Chambers
Ollie has a busy education law practice. He frequently appears in the Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Tribunal in Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) appeals and disability discrimination claims under the Equality Act 2010. He is currently instructed in a number of appeals to the Upper Tribunal on complex questions of equality law. Ollie acts in education-related judicial review proceedings, including urgent cases, and has particular expertise in challenging discriminatory treatment of racialised and SEND children including unlawful school exclusions. 

Ollie is a former university lecturer and draws upon this experience when representing students in academic appeals and complaints before internal university panels and onward complaints to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA). Ollie is actively engaged in campaigning and policy work to address the discriminatory treatment of marginalised children in the education system. He is on the steering committee of the School Inclusion Project (SIP) and is a committee member of the Education Law Association.

Clare Jennings, Matthew Gold & Co. Ltd. Solicitors
Heading up Matthew Gold & Co's Public Law and Community Care practice, Clare has over 10 years of experience representing individuals and NGOs in public law challenges. She has a broad practice encompassing judicial review and human rights, community care, discrimination and information law. 

Clare’s team was the winner of the 2021 Legal Aid Team of the Year award at the LALYs and has also been shortlisted for the Access to Justice Award and Small Firm of the Year at this year’s Law Society’s Excellence Awards. Clare was the winner of the 2016 Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year award in the Children’s Rights category for her work acting for migrant children in public law challenges. 

Clare has a wide breadth of experience in challenging state decisions, and in particular, strategic challenges aimed at bringing about policy changes. Clare has particular expertise in judicial review challenges concerning migrant rights and criminal justice matters. Clare has considerable experience of challenging the exclusion of asylum seeking families and those with No Recourse to Public Funds from statutory support schemes such as free school meals, early education provision and pupil premium funding as well as other policies that detrimentally impact on asylum seeking and migrant communities.  

Elaine Sheppard, Casework Manager, Love to Learn
Elaine has worked in the inner London voluntary sector for several decades - in community work, housing campaigning and family support. All of her roles have involved campaigning for improved public provision and access to services. She has worked with children and families for 25 years and is currently Casework Manager at Love to Learn, a project of the Katherine Low Settlement, in Battersea. Love to Learn aims to increase access to education for refugee-background children and young people.

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