Thursday, May 24, 2012

Legal battles - Academies' refusal to admit pupils with special needs

Mossbourne academy
Case of 11-year-old with cerebral palsy and A* maths GCSE fuels wider concerns over education reforms and accountability

Does this school issue sound familiar? Are academic exclusionary policies systemically occurring in your country, region, state, county, parish, district and SCHOOLS? Is this just a preschool, elementary and secondary education issue; and not a problem for Students seeking higher education?


Education - Case of 11-year-old with cerebral palsy and A* maths GCSE fuels wider concerns over education reforms and accountability  "...the school refused ... arguing it would compromise other children's education and it already has a higher than average number of pupils with special needs."

The boy's mother, Sarah Creighton, said: "We said, 'In what way can you possibly say [he] is going to interfere with the other children's education?' He's top of the year in all his subjects, he's got GCSE Maths A* already, he's won the pan-Hackney debating challenge two years running, he's a prefect and a reading mentor at his school.
The boy's family argue that his statement comes with funds that would help the school to provide for him.

Elaine Maxwell, a partner at Maxwell Gillott solicitors, for the family, added: "How are academies accountable? This has been inherent in academies from the beginning. If academies aren't bound by SEN provisions and the tribunal system, then the parents of a child with a statement have fewer rights than anyone else."

The academy said nearly 1,600 children applied for 200 places in its September 2012 intake. Of those, 53 have statements.  Nationally, 21% of schoolchildren have some form of special needs but at Mossbourne the proportion in each year is 26%-28%.

 The London Oratory case concerns an 11-year-old boy from Croydon. The school declined to be named in his statement, arguing too that it would compromise the "efficient education of other children."

There are up to 30 cases of children with special needs who have been refused an academy place, according to Ipsea, the special needs advice service.

The cases suggest academies may not have the same legal obligations to children with special needs as maintained schools. While parents of children with special needs have the right to appeal against a decision at any other school, lawyers are concerned that academies can turn them away with no recourse. The legal cases could have widespread implications as more than half of secondaries in England are now academies.

The Guardian, 24 May 2012
John Harris and Jeevan Vasagar
Academies' refusal to admit pupils with special needs prompts legal battles | Education | The Guardian



Enjoyable School Year :-)

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"Life on the Autism Spectrum can be ENJOYable."


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