Leader magazineASCL - Association of School and College Leaders

Negligence in SEN

Another attempt to prove negligence against a school in regards to a student's education has failed. In this case, a student had left school functionally illiterate despite having an IQ that indicated it would be perfectly possible for him to learn to read.

The judgement emphasised that the right route for a parent to take would have been through a SENDIST while the child's education was proceeding, not a claim for negligence after the damage was done.

It also found that although the practice of the school fell below the highest standards, this did not constitute negligence. An error of judgement, for example in failing to refer to an educational psychologist when access to EPS was limited, was not negligence.

The fact that the pupil's learning was hampered by his behaviour may well have weighed with the court, but it is in line with a series of cases where the courts have been extremely chary of finding schools negligent in SEN situations.

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