Mark, 15, was bullied at school and his family were having a lot of problems, he lost confidence and found it more and more difficult to go to school. The Children’s Panel made an order that the council should send him to a school that could meet his needs and support him and his family to get him back into education. After a week at that school social work sent Mark home and did not make any other arrangements for him. A report to the Panel said that if Mark did not start going to school he might have to be removed from the family home.  Mark wanted a lawyer to represent him because he did not want to be removed from his family, he felt that the situation was out of control, that his social worker was saying that this was his fault and his families fault and that he could not make the Panel understand that he was not getting the help he needed. At the hearing Mark’s lawyer helped Mark explain why he couldn’t just return to mainstream school without support. We explained how upset Mark was by the report saying he should be removed from his family and his concern that because he was nearly 16 he would just be left out of education until school leaving age and would miss out on opportunities and qualifications. The Panel reassured Mark this wouldn’t happen and it was agreed that it was up to social work to find a solution that worked for him.  Mark’s family moved to a different area just before he turned 16. The new council then asked that his supervision order was stopped. Mark’s lawyer pointed out to the Panel what the law says about orders being able to be in place up ‘til a young person is 18, and explained why Mark still needed to be able to rely on help and support from the local authority. The Panel decided to keep the support there until he is 18 or feels ready to manage without support.

IMPACTS:  Mark got the support he needed from the new local authority and the Children’s Hearing System backing this up to get work experience, get help with social anxiety and look at college places to ensure his life chances are not adversely affected by missing out on school.

Because of our child centred approach Mark built up trust in his lawyer and got the reassurance he needed to build confidence to tell people how he felt and what help he needed.