Judge orders council to fund five-day-a-week course for disabled young people

A court has quashed Cornwall Council’s decision to refuse to provide funding that would enable a college to run a specialist three-year course for disabled young people on a five-day-a-week basis.

At a hearing on 12 December 2019 on the issue of relief, the court also issued a mandatory order requiring the local authority to provide funding for the course at Truro & Penwith College from 2020-2025 for a further five-year cohort.

Cornwall’s decision had been challenged by a number of families on a representative basis.

Garden Court Chambers, whose Gráinne Mellon appeared for the claimants, said that following a substantive judicial review hearing in Truro in August 2019, HHJ Cotter QC declared that in making the decision to refuse to fund the course, Cornwall Council had:

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  • breached the public sector equality duty under section 149 of the Equality Act 2010;
  • breached its duty to consult with the children, young adults and their families affected by the decision; and
  • breached its duty to secure the special educational needs provision for a child or young person contained within the Education Health and Care Plan contrary to s. 42 (2) of the Children and Families Act 2014.

Garden Court Chambers said: “The effect of this decision is that around six yearly cohorts and approximately 240 disabled children and young adults will have access to the specialist and consistent educational provision they require.”

Gráinne Mellon was instructed by Watkins Solicitors.

Cornwall Council has been approached for comment.

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