Council Forced to Pay £200,000 School Fees for Autistic Boy

Mother wins her court case against local education authority

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Local mother June Goh has won her court battle against her local education authority leaving them with a £200,000 bill for school fees. The 47 year old woman took the authority to court after a dispute over who should pay the £40,000-a-year school fees for her autistic son Reuben.

Hammersmith & Fulham Council was ordered to meet the full £200,000 cost of Reuben's education at the Rainbow School for autistic children in the neighbouring borough of Wandsworth.

Ms Goh and her partner argued their son, who was attending Queensmill School, needed a technique known as Applied Behavioural Analysis and felt Rainbow was the best place for this. However, under the school's rules, they were forbidden from paying the fees themselves and when the council refused to pay, reportedly stating that the costs were not justified, the couple took their case to a tribunal.

The council appealed in the initial decision in favour of the family resulting in the case going to the High Court, where the judge again ruled in favour of the parents.

Ms Goh told the Standard "It might seem unfair that the council has to spend £200,000 educating our son but this way he has a good chance of being reintegrated into mainstream education. There is also less likelihood of the state having to care for him later in life."

A spokesperson for the council said "We are abiding by the High Court's decision and Reuben is now attending the Rainbow School, although - as the Judge's comments indicated - we have excellent provision in the borough at Queensmill School, in Fulham."


February 2, 2007