Tribunal finds Great Finborough school discriminated against pupil

Finborough School
  Picture: Google Maps, Infoterra & Bluesky ANL-160525-180428001
Finborough School Picture: Google Maps, Infoterra & Bluesky ANL-160525-180428001

An independent school near Stowmarket consistently discriminated against a disabled pupil, a tribunal has found.

Parents of a vulnerable disabled boy, who wish to remain anonymous, found out last week that their concerns over their son’s treatment at Finborough School were valid.

The Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) tribunal has ruled that the school in Great Finborough failed to make reasonable adjustments for their son’s disability or to provide the right support for him in lessons.

It further found the school treated him unfavourably and failed to ensure coordination between its Learning Support Department and mainstream subject teachers.

The school, an independent day and boarding facility for children aged two to 18, has been ordered to review its procedures and to apologise to the pupil concerned.

Melinda Nettleton, of SEN Legal, who represented the family at the tribunal, has welcomed SEND’s findings.

She said: “The tribunal decision reflects the fact that when schools fail to make reasonable adjustments for their pupils, it is an act of discrimination and, in this case, disability discrimination.”

The boy’s parents said they hoped the tribunal’s decision assisted other disabled pupils and ensured the right support was put in place.

They said: “Our sole aim throughout this process has been to try to ascertain that the right support was not put in place for our disabled child, which we believe is no more than any reasonable parents would do, and to ascertain that appropriate steps were not being taken in light of our child’s disability.

“We hope that other pupils and parents whose children have suffered or feel are suffering, like our child did, find the courage now to step forward,” they added.

James Sinclair, principal at Finborough School, said: “As a school we are deeply saddened and disappointed with the tribunal’s ruling particularly as we always had a very positive relationship with the family when they were at the school.

“[This pupil] had three happy years at the school during which our dedicated staff always had his best interests at heart.

“In our March 2015 inspection report it highlighted overwhelmingly that staff were whole-heatedly dedicated to supporting students with special educational needs individually and in normal lessons.

“We will now take this opportunity to consider the tribunal’s findings and our response with the schools membership bodies.”