Elizabeth Fortin

Associate Solicitor
Education Team
Summary

Elizabeth joined Stone King in 2018 and works as an Associate Solicitor for the Education Team and Information Law Team. She advises Trust schools (including special schools) on their legal obligations relating to their pupils and parents.

Elizabeth brings a wide range of professional experience in academic, policy and legal environments to this role. She qualified as a Solicitor for an international law firm in 2001, but subsequently went back into academia, and latterly worked with policy-makers and parliament, NGOs and charities, and universities and other researchers.

Professional Experience

Elizabeth advises on a range of operational issues for schools, including:

  • Equality Act (e.g. disability and transgender);
  • SEN and school/LA obligations towards pupils with EHC plans;
  • exclusions (preparing governors for reviews of exclusions and schools for Independent Review Panels);
  • Parental complaints; and
  • Safeguarding.

Elizabeth has also received a BCS Foundation Certificate in Data Protection and frequently advises schools on their legal obligations in relation to SARs and FOI requests.

She has delivered training to local governing bodies and trustees.

Expertise Area 1

Equality Act and SEN.

Expertise Area 2

Information Law (Data Protection/FOI).

Academic Experience

PhD, MSc, MA (Distinction), MA (Oxon).

Interests

Elizabeth is a Safeguarding Governor of a Junior School and when she has any free time she enjoys (gentle) trail running and gardening.

Case studies / Accomplishments

Elizabeth has recently successfully prevented judicial review proceedings being issued against a MAT in in relation to a student’s Centre Assessed Grades (“CAGs”) for A-level.  While the student was not a current student at the academy, the academy had agreed that he could sit his A-levels at the Academy, and subsequently drew upon a range of evidence in awarding his CAGs.  Whether the evidence that the school relied upon was sufficient was in dispute.

Elizabeth has provided extensive advice to another Trust in relation to local authorities’ ongoing obligations to its students with Education Health and Care Plans (“EHCPs”), the suitability of the placement of students at the academy and the ongoing provision for students whose EHCPs had been amended on review.  Following correspondence with two LAs, the Trust school has seen LA EHCP referrals reduce by more than half, from over 60.

Elizabeth has advised one MAT in relation to three disability discrimination claims under the Equality Act 2010 brought in the First-tier Tribunal (Special Educational Needs and Disability).  These related to sanctions imposed on students for behaviour which breached the academies’ Behaviour Policies.  All claims were successfully defended.

 

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