Local Government Ombudsman
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School failed to make reasonable adjustments for autistic boy

Archived press release

Date Published: 05/08/08

King’s Grammar School, Grantham, failed to make reasonable adjustments for an autistic boy sitting its 11-plus entrance exam, failing to consider its duties under the Disability Discrimination Act.

King’s Grammar School, Grantham, failed to make reasonable adjustments for an autistic boy sitting its 11-plus entrance exam, finds Local Government Ombudsman, Anne Seex. In her report, issued today (5 August 2008) she says that the School had taken incorrect advice and failed to consider its duties under the Disability Discrimination Act and the Government’s Codes of Practice on School Admissions and School Admission Appeals. 

The Ombudsman was pleased that the School quickly accepted its fault and agreed to follow her recommendations for a remedy.

An autistic boy with dyspraxia and attention deficit disorder sat the 11-plus exam for King’s Grammar School, Grantham. Acting on advice from a consortium of local grammar schools, the School failed to make any adjustments for him. The consortium wrongly advised that adjustments did not need to be made unless a child had a statement of special educational needs. The boy’s conditions came within the definition of disability, and so the School was under a duty to ensure that he was not disadvantaged. 

The boy became so upset during the exam that, part-way through, he could not see the paper and was very distraught. He failed the exam, and his mother appealed against the consequent refusal of a place at the School. The record of the appeal panel hearing shows that it did not consider the School’s duties under the Disability Discrimination Act or the Codes of Practice of School Admissions and School Admissions Appeals. The Ombudsman says this was maladministration. 

The boy was admitted to another grammar school on the basis of his SATS results and his junior school’s recommendations. 

The School has accepted and acted on the Ombudsman’s recommendation that it should:

  • apologise to the complainant and her son, and give a gift token to the value of £50 by way of compensation;
  • inform applicants of how to raise potential disability issues before their child sits the 11 plus examination; and
  • whenever disability issues arise in the future, make reasonable enquiries and consider its responsibilities in light of the individual circumstances, the law and government guidance.

Report ref 07C03329