Diabetic child unable to start school

11 September 2012

Commenting on the child unable to start Bangor school due to issues with training of staff in diabetic care, Worthingtons Solicitors explain the grounds for judicial review.

Four year old Josh Todd, who was diagnosed with diabetes in January of this year, was unable to start Primary school last week.

Josh’s parents have said that issues over whether staff at the Bangor Primary school are fully trained in diabetic care have meant that Josh has been unable to join a P1 class at the school.

In a statement from the South Eastern Health Trust, it was confirmed that a specialist nurse has provided basic training to teachers at the school and the Trust believes there is no reason why Josh should not have started school.  Neither the school nor the local education and library board have been available for comment.

Inevitably parents will be concerned that their child will be able to attend the school of their choice and receive the appropriate level of medical care and attention if required, as well as reasonable and appropriate allocation of resources and intervention. However a school may decide not to admit a child depending on admission and eligibility criteria.

Whether the interpretation and application of such criteria is fair and reasonable is a decision which is legal in nature and can be subject to an appeal, a complaint to the Department of Education for Northern Ireland, or in some cases, an application for what is known as judicial review. Judicial review is a procedure whereby aggrieved person[s] can request a Judge to review the decision of a public body including Schools, and Education & Library Boards, if such a decision can be argued to be unlawful, unreasonable or unfair, broadly speaking.

If the Judge agrees, he/she can strike the decision down, order it to be taken again, or in some cases, he/she can compel the public body to take certain specific action.

There are many other issues which can arise in school life and which can cause considerable concern to parent and child alike.  If you or your child are affected by such an issue or decision by a school or education authority, it is best to seek legal advice promptly. Legal aid is commonly available particularly where the interests of a child are at stake. Please do not hesitate to contact our Brian Moss for advice about any issues you may have.

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