‘Rolls Royce’ aid for disabled girl denied
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.