Families lose High Court challenge against local authority over special needs funding

Families of children with special educational requirements have lost a High Court challenge against local authority cuts to special needs funding.

Four children, whose relatives brought the case on their behalf, challenged plans by the London Borough of Hackney to make a five per cent reduction in spending on special educational needs (SEN).

But, ruling on Friday, Mr Justice Supperstone concluded that the council’s decision to reduce funding was not “unlawful” and did not breach equality legislation.

The claimants included John Roden, grandfather of five-year-old Hope Dixey who has a rare genetic condition, and Dana Biggs, 46, whose 16-year-old daughter Sade has narcolepsy and cataplexy.

All four children attend mainstream schools in the London Borough of Hackney.

The judge said he was satisfied, based on the evidence before him, that the council gave “careful consideration” to the reduction and that it was a change that could be “absorbed” without compromising SEN provision in individual cases.

He rejected the claimants’ case that the council was required to consult with families before making the reduction.

The judge added: “I am satisfied that the council’s new plan format promotes the welfare of children subject to Education Health and Care plans.”

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