Dyslexics sue council

15th September 2000 at 01:00
THIRTY families are suing a local authority, claiming their dyslexic children did not get enough support at school. The case is believed to be the first mass action of its kind.

The Leicestershire families are suing the county council for more than pound;750,000, with some of the cases going back 12 years, writes Roger Bushby.

The parents are claiming lack of support meant that their children left school with few or no qualifications. The action follows a Lords' ruling that schools must ensure children with special needs get proper help.

Roger Hewins, the county's National Association of Head Teachers' spokesman, criticised the action, saying it was "not helpful". He added that a child struggling with reading may not be dyslexic.

The parents, all being represented by lawyer Keih Lawson-West, are claiming compensation of more than pound;15,000 to pay for new education courses and compensate for loss of job prospects.

Mr Lawson-West said: "These will be substantial claims. We have been trying to pursue these cases for three years, but we wanted to wait for the July ruling. The county's education finances will not suffer, because any monies paid out will come from a separate budget."

A county council spokesman said they were unable to comment on individual cases, but had followed the code of practice on special needs.

The London lawyer who prompted the Lords ruling, Jack Rabinowicz, said the case "could well be the first of many". He said: "The Lords' ruling took the stopper out ... There will undoubtedly be a huge number of claims in the future."

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