Law Report: Therapies Were Special Educational Needs Thursday Law Report: 17 June 1999 London Borough of Bromley V Special Educational Needs Tribunal and Others Court of Appeal (Lord Justice Evans, Lord Justice Mummery and Lord Justice Sedley) 26 May 1999
Kate O'Hanlon, The Independent (London, England)
IT WAS open to a Special Educational Needs Tribunal to conclude that the needs of a severely disabled child for physiotherapy, occupational therapy and speech and language therapy formed part of his special educational needs for which his local education authority was obliged to make provision.
The Court of Appeal dismissed, in part, the appeal of the London Borough of Bromley against the dismissal of its appeal against a decision of a Special Educational Needs Tribunal as to the provision it was required to make for the special educational needs of a child, S.
S, aged 12, had suffered severe trauma at his birth which had resulted in lifelong physical and mental disability. His local education authority, having assessed his educational needs under section 323 of the Education Act 1996, made a statement of his special educational needs pursuant to section 324 of the Act, in which it proposed that he should be educated at a day school. S's parents challenged the statement on the basis that his needs for physiotherapy, occupational therapy and speech and language therapy out of school hours and out of term time were, at least in part, educational needs, and that they could not be addressed at a day school. They contended that the special educational provision which the authority was obliged to make for S was residential provision throughout the year. The Special Educational Needs Tribunal concluded that S's acknowledged need for the various therapies formed part of his special educational needs, with the consequence that the provision of those therapies was part of the special educational provision which the authority must make for him. The authority's appeal against that decision was dismissed. Timothy Straker QC and David Wolfe (Borough Solicitor, London Borough of Bromley) for the authority; Richard Gordon QC and Kate Markus (Leigh Day & Co) for the tribunal and the parents. Lord Justice Sedley said that special educational provision was, in principle, whatever was called for by a child's learning difficulty. …