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Abramova v OXILP

May 27th, 2011 by Peter Oldham QC

Cases by students against tertiary education institutions that make it to trial are rare beasts.  Abramova v OXILP [2011] EWHC 613 gives the following points of interest:-

- a claim about substandard service is not barred by the “academic judgment” doctrine in e.g. Clark v Humberside University

- the test is, or is akin to, the Bolam v Friern Barnet Hospital test i.e. was the provision of a standard that a reasonable provider would have given?

- if you are claiming substandard service, you will probably need expert evidence to make your case good.

Peter Oldham QC

Admissions priority for poor families

May 27th, 2011 by Peter Oldham QC

The suggestion is that the new admissions code will allow academies and free schools, but not maintained schools, to give admission priority to those from the poorest backgrounds.  If so, the code will give academies and free schools certain freedoms not available to other schools.  #

The policy thrust appears to be this: the government wants to give access to the disadvantaged to the best schools, and amongst the best schools will be the academies and free schools.

Peter Oldham QC

Don’t Punish Pupils for Parents in Pyjamas

May 25th, 2011 by Clive Sheldon QC

One school in Middlesborough apparently has a problem with parents in pyjamas: see http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-tees-13511668 (“Head teacher appeal to school run ‘pyjama parents’”). It is reported that parents in pyjamas are bringing their kids to school in the morning, and then picking them up in the afternoon still in their pyjamas. The Head Teacher has apparently written to parents urging them to think about what they are wearing.

The Head Teacher, and others thinking of following suit, should be cautious, and restrain themselves from taking out on the children their concern over parental fashion statements. Just to remind them, the Secretary of State’s exclusion guidance says at paragraph 15(f) of Part 2 that: “Exclusion should not be used for punishing pupils for the behaviour of their parents”.

PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT

May 24th, 2011 by Peter Oldham QC

Today the DoE launched a consultation, relevant to England only, about proposals to to simplify the regulatory regmie on teachers’ performance management, and to remove the duplication between performance management and capability procedures. 

This is as foreshadowed in the White Paper “The Importance of Teaching”. The consultation period ends in mid August.

Further information is available on the DoE website at http://www.education.gov.uk/consultations/index.cfm?action=consultationDetails&consultationId=1743&external=no&menu=1

Peter Oldham QC

SHAMELESS FUNDRAISING PLUG

May 11th, 2011 by Edward Capewell

The London Legal sponsored walk takes place next Monday (16th May), and 11KBW are fielding a team of 16 walkers. We are raising funds for the London Legal Support Trust which funds Law Centres and pro bono agencies in and around London. We know from our own pro bono work that these agencies do a fantastic job in preventing homelessness, resolving debt problems, gaining care for the elderly and disabled and fighting exploitation.  In the current economic climate their work is more important than ever.

It would be great if readers of this blog could sponsor us here.  If you’ve found the blog useful or helpful over the last 9 months, and would like to show your appreciation, then now is the time!

SCHOOL ADMISSIONS

May 5th, 2011 by James Goudie QC

In Kasabova v Bulgaria ECtHR has held that a heavy fine on a journalist for writing a defamatory newspaper article that referred to allegations of corruption in relation to school admissions breached ECHR Art 10.  The issue was as to the fair balance between protection of freedom of expression and protection of the reputation of those against whom allegations have been made.  The Court noted (para 56) that the article was reporting facts relating to alleged irregularities and corrupt practices in the admission of students to secondary schools, and observed that “There can be no doubt that this was a question of considerable public interest” and that “the publication of information about it formed an integral part of the task of the media in a democratic society”.  The Court further noted (para 57) that the individuals mentioned in the article were public officials, and observed that, as a rule, they are “subject to wider limits of acceptable criticism than private individuals”.  Even if the journalist had failed sufficiently to research her article before going to press, and thus failed to act as a responsible journalist, the sanction imposed on her was “disproportionate”, unnecessary and excessive.

James Goudie QC