Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 23 December 2014

Down's syndrome teenager fails in school appeal bid

A teenager with Down's syndrome has failed in an appeal against being denied a place at the mainstream school of her family's choice

Northern Ireland's most senior judge dismissed the new attempt to overturn a decision reached by a special educational needs tribunal.

Legal proceedings were brought after a panel upheld a determination that the 14-year-old should attend St Columbanus' College in Bangor.

Her mother wanted her to be given a place at St Joseph's College in Belfast. The girl, who cannot be identified, was due to begin secondary education in September 2011. Her lawyer argued that the decision breached her human rights.

They claimed the tribunal's determination effectively imposed a policy of Down's syndrome children only being educated in schools with previous experience of children with the condition.

But a barrister for the panel rejected claims of irrationality in a decision taken after exploring the practical and obvious differences between the two schools.

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