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Disability discrimination by nursery - any advice?

(8 Posts)
Woods93 Fri 07-Nov-14 20:13:11

Hi
My son has severe learning disabilities and went to Appletree nursery in Sheffield. In the past few months he's been going thru a biting phase. Nursery made 1-1 supervision compulsory and charged us the full cost of this which quadrupled our nursery bill to well over £100/day. Legal advice we got was that it's disability discrimination. Nursery disagrees. We've tried to negotiate a compromise but they've refused and chucked all our kids out of nursery with no notice for challenging the charges. We're not keen to go down the legal route but there doesn't seem to be many options. Has anyone been in a similar situation and how have you dealt with this? Thanks!

tempe48 Sat 08-Nov-14 22:25:34

I've not been in your position, but I have been involved in several disability tribunals as an independent parental supporter.

My advice is - don't bother. It's 6 months of stress, and even if you win, all you will get at best is an apology! They cannot order the nursery to compensate you financially. It's far better IMO to get the SEN sorted out and get your child's needs met! You say he has SLD - has he got a statement? It sounds to me like he was not getting the support he needed? (Or the nursery was not getting advice from the LA) I'd find a more suitable nursery, get the right support in place for him and if you feel so inclined make a formal complaint to the LA that his needs were not met, caused you stress, affected the siblings, etc.

tempe48 Sun 09-Nov-14 09:18:41

PS - some nurseries and schools do not want SEN children and parents are IME banging their heads against a brick wall! Better to find one that is more inclusive; or failing that special provision for that difficulty, which has a can do attitude!

Woods93 Sun 09-Nov-14 20:18:28

Thanks tempe48. Kinda what we thought. I find it rather sad that the legal protections for the disabled are so weak. Wbw

tempe48 Sun 16-Nov-14 12:27:13

Is it likely that the government would introduce a mechanism whereby all parents, who felt their child had suffered disability discrimination in school could get compensation? There are probably parents in a considerable number of schools with grievances (just look at other threads by other parents on MN alone) - the drain on the education budget would be enormous IMO!

Its not going to happen, at a time when the government is cutting back on legal aid to stop poor and vulnerable people holding local authorities, the NHS, etc to account for unlawful policies?

LIZS Sun 16-Nov-14 12:35:47

If the nursery claims EY funding you could contact the LA and ask them if this is acceptable under their criteria.

manishkmehta Sun 16-Nov-14 15:45:24

If you have any evidence that you were asked to pay £100.00 per day then you may well have a case for disability discrimination... If the nursery have written to you to request you remove your children from the nursery and you have it in writing then you should try to appeal -

hmctsformfinder.justice.gov.uk/HMCTS/GetForm.do?court_forms_id=2889

I'm not suggesting this will work... but you should make it clear that you were NOT given anything in writing formally excluding your children. The law does require exlusisions to be done formally in writing. If that has not happened then the only thing i can suggest is to find whatever documentation you have, as above, and put in a claim.

If you can get IPSEA on the phone that would be the best thing... However, the most important thing is, "Does your child have a statement" - if not, then you really should be requesting one...

Good luck.

Woods93 Wed 19-Nov-14 19:55:32

Thanks manishkmehta and Lizs for your thoughts.
Yes, we've gone down the IPSEA route and have a SEN in place so the charges and nursery demands were on top of this. We tried very very hard to be reasonable and offered to negotiate rather than take a legal route but were flatly refused. They were pretty hostile really in their response. As it is a private nursery IMO they were more interested in profit generation than the welfare of my child. On a positive note, we found another nursery who were much better - behaviour issues settled within a fortnight -we put it down to better structure, clear boundaries and strong attempts to help his communication difficulties, all this without the need for 1-1 supervision or surcharges. I guess our advice to any others who end up in a similar situation is as tempe45 says is to find another nursery that is inclusive and willing to give your child a chance.

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