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SEND: Families lose court challenge over funding

Families lose legal challenge against London Borough of Hackney cutting funding

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

Four children, whose relatives brought the case on their behalf, challenged plans by the London Borough of Hackney to make a 5 per cent reduction in spending on SEND.

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But, ruling today, 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, 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 SEND 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."

Last month, a group of families who challenged Surrey County Council's Schools and SEND budget also lost their challenge at the High Court.

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