Victory for Amalie - disabled girl gets school she needs after legal battle

Parents take legal action against council to stop disabled daughter being moved to state school

But that is exactly what Rod Baber and his partner Josy Hayes had to do when they were told their severely disabled daughter Amalie would have to leave a former Convent school which has helped disabled youngsters with learning difficulties for 103 years.

They went to a tribunal after five year old daughter Amalie was ordered by education officials to be transferred to another special school run by the local authority.

During their nine month battle, the parents spent £10,000 on legal fees and expert reports to keep her at St Rose’s - one of only three schools of its type when it was founded by Roman Catholic nuns in 1912 in Stroud, Gloucestershire.

Eventually after legal submissions, Gloucestershire County Council agreed to let Amalie stay at St Roses after the headteacher of the other school confirmed it was not suitable for her needs.

The First-tier Tribunal Special Educational Needs and Disability in Cheltenham ordered that the local authority to amend Amalie’s Education, Health and Care Plan. The council also agreed to pay the annual £18,101 bill for Amalie's care and education which includes therapy and equipment.

The move comes after St Roses which was honoured for its work by the late Mother Teresa had to fight a battle of its own to avoid closure when it St Rose faced losing its £2.16million a year funding from the council due to Government changes to funding special needs education. The school, owned by the Dominican Sisters charity, was described as ‘outstanding’ and ‘truly transformational’ in an inspection report.

Amalie from Nailsworth, Gloucestershire needs special education after a bout of chickenpox when she was just ten months old developed into a virus and left her left with the most severe form of cerebral palsy and she cannot speak, see or move.

She attended nursery at St Roses which provided one-to-one education and therapy for children with physical disabilities and complex health needs. But when she turned five the council refused to continue funding her place at St Rose's and ordered her to go to The Shrubberies School five miles away which caters for pupils with severe learning disabilities.

Mr Baber, 45, who runs an outdoor climbing company contacted Cavendish Press to tell of his battle to get Amalie into the school that best served her needs. He said: ''We had to take up this fight for our daughter and many other parents who find themselves in a similar position.

''The fact is the local council simply don’t like St Roses. They ignored all the specialist medical advice which is how is should not be.

''Now we've won our case I’m on a war path to help people like my daughter Amalie - I think it is my duty to do what we can to make sure disabled youngster's like her get the right school they need. ''

Cavendish Press' coverage of the story went in the Mail online. If you have a story please contact us on 0161 237 1066 or email [email protected] We'd like to hear from you.