MP hits out over school law change

AN MP is opposing an attempt by the Government to change a law which led to parents winning a High Court appeal against the decision to close Westbury School in Letchworth GC. Campaigning father-of-10, Dean Parr, who has two children at the school, succes

AN MP is opposing an attempt by the Government to change a law which led to parents winning a High Court appeal against the decision to close Westbury School in Letchworth GC.

Campaigning father-of-10, Dean Parr, who has two children at the school, successfully argued that the closure notice was flawed because it failed to pinpoint what provision would be available to children with special educational needs (SEN) after the school's gates were closed.

But the Government is now trying to change the law so this SEN consideration only applies with the closure of a special school.

It would not apply to the closure of a mainstream school with a significant number of pupils with special needs. At Westbury, 41 of the 112 pupils have SEN.


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Mr Heald has tabled a motion in the House of Commons calling for these new regulations to be annulled.

He said: "High Court judge, Mr Justice Burton, was right to give protection to special needs children in mainstream schools, so they could not just be shunted out of their schools without the education authority showing that the effect of closure would help their education.

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"I don't think his Westbury Test should be scrapped for the convenience of Government.

"The children should be the first and most important consideration."

Following the High Court's decision in December last year, Hertfordshire County Council was forced to rethink its decision to close Westbury School.

It confirmed it would still close the school, asserting it would be likely to lead to improvements in educational provision for children with SEN.

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