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NO COUNCIL FUNDING FOR SINGLE MOTHER TO EDUCATE AUTISTIC SON AT HOME

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A single mother fighting for council funding to help educate her autistic son at home was told by a high court judg...
A single mother fighting for council funding to help educate her autistic son at home was told by a high court judge that he could not help her.
The mother of the 'profoundly autistic' eight-year-old from Retford, Notts, took him out of the primary school she says was 'failing him' in October 1998 and now educates him at home.
Nicholas Bowen, for 'H' and his mother, said Nottinghamshire CC had refused to fund the American-inspired home education programme she is using to make the best of
her son's education.
He accused the council of breaching its duty under the Education Act 1996, also telling the court in London that the current statement of special educational needs maintained by the
council for 'H' is 'grossly out of date and unlawful.'
But Mr justice Hooper refused to intervene in the case yesterday, saying a full-scale judicial review challenge 'would not be an appropriate remedy' in 'H''s case.
The boy's mother must now wait for up to another six months for the council to complete a fresh assessment of his special needs.
Mr Bowen told the court 'H''s mother 'has expended a great deal of money and energy' on the 'Son Rise Options Programme' - a home education system based on an American model
which has proved highly successful in helping autistic children.
He said that she wanted 'short term financial aid and a proper statement of needs' from the council.
The council have refused to help out financially, claiming she took 'H' out of school voluntarily.
But she argues that, at a meeting in October 1998, she was given a choice of 'H' being educated at an 'unsuitable' school or teaching him at home.
Had she known of the council's 'absolute non-delegable duty' under the 1996 Act to provide education for children who are not attending school because of illness, she would not have
taken the burden upon herself, said Mr Bowen.
But Mr justice Hooper said that, because 'H''s case is at the moment 'being actively considered' by the council - in an assessment begun in February this year and expected to last six
more months - it was inappropriate for the court to interfere.
STRAND NEWS SERVICE
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