Parents challenge closure of school

Parents of children at a school for children with physical
disabilities in south London which has been threatened with closure
were granted permission to mount a judicial review to challenge the
decision by a high court judge last week.

Lambeth Council wants to merge Thurlow Park Special School with
three other special schools in the area, including two that cater
for children with severe learning difficulties.

But lawyers for the parents told the court that the proposed
merger was “irrational” and “outmoded” and would result in disabled
children being educated alongside children with “challenging and
disruptive” behaviour.

The local authority denied that the new school would admit
children with severe behavioural problems.

But Mr Justice Burton ruled that the London borough had been
unable to provide the court with an explanation of the sorts of
conditions that would exclude children from being admitted to the
new school.

Announcing his decision to allow the parents to challenge the
merger, Mr Justice Burton asked the court: “What is the guideline?
Where is the line to be drawn.

“What is the purpose and the justification if it is a retrograde
step of simply mixing everyone together who have any kind of
special problem?”

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