‘Rolls Royce’ aid for dis­abled girl de­nied

The Jewish Chronicle - - HOME NEWS - BY JC RE­PORTER

A JEWISH fam­ily’s right to make a lo­cal author­ity pay for their daugh­ter to at­tend a £200,000-a-year school has ended with a judge telling them that the girl should not ex­pect “Rolls Royce treat­ment”.

Hert­ford­shire County Coun­cil is cur­rently pay­ing £4,221 a year for the badly dis­abled pre-teenager, who can­not be iden­ti­fied, to at­tend a spe­cial day school, but her fam­ily think that the ed­u­ca­tion she is re­ceiv­ing there is not good enough for their daugh­ter.

They ar­gued that her de­vel­op­ment and liv­ing skills would be en­hanced by her be­ing sent to a £200,00 pa board­ing school at tax­pay­ers’ ex­pense — and took their fight against the coun­cil’s re­fusal to a Spe­cial Ed­u­ca­tional Needs Tri­bunal (Sendist) in June 2006.

The fam­ily, from the Wat­ford area, were undeterred by an­other fail­ure at Sendist and took their fight to Lon­don’s High Court.

Now their chal­lenge has foundered af­ter Judge Andrew Gil­bart QC ruled that the coun­cil did not — as Sam Grodzin­ski, for the fam­ily, ar­gued — have “an obli­ga­tion” to send the girl, iden­ti­fied only as ‘D’ for le­gal rea­sons, to the board­ing school “re­gard­less of cost”. How­ever, the judge praised the fam­ily for their de­vo­tion to their daugh­ter and re­fused to im­pose a heavy le­gal bill on them for an ac­tion they had taken “in her best in­ter­ests”.

“I’m im­pressed by the ob­vi­ous care the fam­ily show for their daugh­ter, given the heavy bur­den loaded upon them by their daugh­ter’s dis­abil­i­ties,” the judge said. “How­ever, this child was not en­ti­tled to Rolls Royce pro­vi­sion,” he went on.

“Mr Grodzin­ski ar­gues for the claimant that any­thing that helps ‘D’ learn what to do amounts to ed­u­ca­tion. I think that goes too far. Sendist had con­cerns about ‘D’ liv­ing away from home and re­jected the sub­mis­sion that she needed ed­u­ca­tion pro­vi­sion out­side of school hours.

“The ex­pert panel was en­ti­tled to come to that con­clu­sion and this chal­lenge must fail,” the judge con­cluded.

But he re­fused an ap­pli­ca­tion by the coun­cil to have their le­gal costs met by the fam­ily af­ter a plea by Mr Grodzin­ski.

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