Be On Guard Against Academy Proposals, Lawyer Warns

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Parents breathe sigh of relief as Academy admits defeat in special needs scandal

Be On Guard Against Academy Proposals, Lawyer Warns

This September, seven youngsters with special educational needs will have their first day of secondary school at the Ashton-on-Mersey school following a legal battle spanning the best part of summer.

The Dean Trust which runs the Ashton-on-Mersey school had attempted to force the parents to accept that their children would be transported from Ashton-on-Mersey School to Broadoak school in Partington each morning - despite all the children having Education, Health and Care plans identifying Ashton-on-Mersey as the school they were to attend . But an agreement has now been reached between the school and the parents.

James Betts, a specialist Education lawyer at Simpson Millar solicitors, represented the parents. He explains: "The Dean Trust has finally agreed that no pupil with an EHC plan which names Ashton-on-Mersey School as their placement will be required to attend any other school or premises without written parental agreement. Many will be baffled as to why the school ever considered this an acceptable proposal. But the parents of seven children with special educational needs had to take legal action to make sure their children received the placement they had been promised nonetheless.

"Although this issue has now been resolved, it raises the issue of academies trying to bend the rules to suit the needs of the organisation rather than those of the children."

"My advice to parents is to remain on guard and ready to challenge unreasonable proposals by academy trusts. I doubt this is the last time an academy will try and circumvent the rules that govern the running of schools in this country, and it is crucial that they are not allowed to do so unchallenged."

In May, the Dean Trust proposed to transport the seven children by bus, each day, to Broadoak school in Partington which it also runs. A Judicial Review hearing had been set 16 August 2016.

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