Act of kindness

6th October 2000 at 01:00
THE HUMAN Rights Act finally came into force this week and with it dire warnings of increased litigation in education.

As we report on page 8, disgruntled parents are gearing up to challenge schools' admissions arrangements. Schools' uniform, exclusions and detentions policies (see page 26) are also said to be under threat.

But the vast majority of schools have little to worry about. Unless the Government has got its legal position as badly wrong as it did over performance pay for teachers, most of the flurry of cases expected over the next few months will b unsuccessful.

Much will depend on how the courts view the balance of rights and responsibility between individuals and the wider community. Teachers accused of assaulting pupils will hope that they will not be placed in the media spotlight unless they are brought to trial.

But it is pupils with special needs who are likely to benefit most from the new legislation. For too long, assistance for SEN pupils has been allocated according to finance rather than need. If the Act forces politicians to pay up then for that alone it deserves to be welcomed.


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