Press Release: High Court Case
The Alliance For Inclusive Education supports a human rights legal challenge around the provision of support for Disabled pupils with visual impairments within mainstream schooling.
On the 23rd January in the High Court a severely visually impaired pupil will claim that the local authority is breaching her rights in the way it arranges specialist teaching assistant support in mainstream schools.
The local authority has decided to give individual schools the responsibility for the recruitment and employment of Teaching Assistants for their Disabled pupils. This means there is no central pool of specialist support staff (specialist teaching assistants) available when a Disabled child wants to join a particular school.
The court is being asked to make a decision on whether the local authority’s policy to delegate responsibility to schools for the recruitment and employment of TAs is lawful under the Equality Act 2010 Public Sector Equality Duty, European Convention on Human Rights and UN Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities around promoting Disabled pupils’ right to participate in mainstream education free from disability discrimination.
Currently, there is a presumption of mainstream education for Disabled pupils under the Children and Families Act. However, there is no requirement in law that local authorities should arrange SEND provision that will maximise parental choice of mainstream schools or promote Disabled pupils’ full participation in the curriculum.
“This is a very important case because for too many Disabled pupils, failure in mainstream schools arises when local authorities do not arrange SEND provision in a timely manner and in a way that guarantees high quality support to enable Disabled pupils to follow the entire school curriculum at all times, ie without any gaps. This leaves Disabled pupils being treated in a discriminatory way, as they are denied full participation in the school curriculum and all aspects of school life because they are Disabled and require assistance. We therefore want the court to issue guidance and rule that leaving Disabled pupils without appropriate assistance to engage in mainstream education is disability discrimination and a breach of Disabled pupils’ human rights,” says the Alliance for Inclusive Education’s Policy and Campaigns Coordinator Simone Aspis.
Anthony Gold Solicitors are representing the client and Steve Broach of Monckton Chambers is instructed counsel.
For more information please contact Simone Aspis:
Phone: 0207 737 6030 / mobile: 07856 213 837