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Disabled child compensated £1k over handling of school support document

Disabled child compensated £1k over handling of school support document

Monday 12 February 2024

Disabled child compensated £1k over handling of school support document

Monday 12 February 2024

A disabled child is to receive £1,000 in compensation from the government because their parent was not told how to challenge a document outlining the child's required support at school.

The ruling was handed down by the Employment and Discrimination Tribunal last month, after the parent filed a claim against the Education Minister on behalf of their child, who faces challenges at school as a result of a brain-based disability due to prenatal alcohol exposure called FASD.

The parent felt the Minister's department did not meet their child’s needs or offer tailored support for Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) and that this amounted to discrimination. 

The Tribunal didn't find fault with the Education Department's ability to recognise, understand, support, and adapt to the child's disability. 

However, they did acknowledge that the Department failed to provide information on the process of challenging a formal document known as a Record of Needs (RoN), which details a student's educational needs and support required in school.

The parent argued that the school had not provided educators and professionals with appropriate training about FASD, which he described as "a relatively unknown brain-based disability."


Pictured: The parent identified nine areas of complaint including a lack of training, a RoN that is not fit for purpose and a failure to recognise, support and adapt to the child’s diagnosed disability.

He argued that there was no meaningful information sharing about "the 'nitty-gritty' of what FASD is and how it impacts people".

He argued that this lack of understanding about the disability was reflected in the child's RoN, which he said failed to set out adequate arrangements for his child to progress in school.

He explained how, for example, the RoN wrongly assumed the child could control their behaviour.

This, he said, disregarded the challenges children with FASD face in understanding cause and effect and in changing their behaviour as a result of consequences.

Various drafts of the RoN were published between June 2021 to November 2022, and the parent felt that the length of time it took to finalise constituted discrimination.

While the Tribunal did not agree that these were acts of discrimination, they did find direct discrimination in the Minister's failure to tell the parent about their right to appeal the continents of the RoN, as required by the law.

The Tribunal found that five drafts of the RoN were implemented without being signed or returned to the parent with details of how to appeal, which constituted a breach of statutory requirements.

The Minister was ordered to provide a finalised and signed RoN for the child by 29 February and compensate the child £1,000.

Furthermore, the former Minister promised to undertake a review of all RoNs and inform parents of their statutory right to appeal.

Other claims of discrimination were not upheld by the Tribunal, including a lack of FASD training, failing to update the RoN in a timely manner, implementing reactive strategies that do not work for the child, and refusing to accept that the child's behavioural presentations are due to FASD.

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