Mother fights axing of assisted school place

THE HOPES of an 11-year-old boy being allowed to continue his education at a private boarding school under the assisted places scheme hung in the balance yesterday.

A High Court judge heard that the Department for Education and Employment is now considering "fresh material" supporting the case of Alastair Sanderson, who is in danger of losing his place at the King's School in Ely, Cambridgeshire, following the rundown of the scheme. The parents of manypupils in a similar dilemma are closely watching the case.

Alastair's mother, Yvonne Sanderson, 39, of Kidlington, Oxfordshire, yesterday came to court to launch a test-case challenge against the decision last February of David Blunkett, the Secretary of State for Education, not to exercise his discretion to permit her son to keep his assisted place at the 800-pupil school throughout his secondary education until the age of 18.

But her application for leave to apply for judicial review was adjourned after Philip Engelman, appearing for the family, announced that Mr Blunkett was "redetermining" the case.

Pushpinder Saini, for the Secretary of State, said it was not accepted that the minister "has done anything wrong", but a redetermination was necessary because the family solicitors had submitted further material and a decision would be made by 26 June.

Mr Justice Hidden said he would adjourn the case and order that it should come for an expedited hearing in July if Mrs Sanderson wished to challenge Mr Blunkett's final decision.

Mrs Sanderson said outside court that Alastair, who had learning difficulties, started at King's School last September after being offered his place in February 1997. The 1997 Education (Schools) Act, which came into force on 1 September, abolished the scheme for secondary education. But the Secretary of State had discretion to continue to fund existing pupils.

Mrs Sanderson said: "The main issue is that a promise given by the Government, that children offered assisted places will continue their education, should not be broken.

"We have had a letter from Mr Blunkett saying that he will honour this promise."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Service Advisor

£16000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to expansion and growth of ...

Recruitment Genius: Logistics Coordinator / Admin Support

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Logistics Coordinator is required to join a ...

Recruitment Genius: International Exhibitions Sales Executive - OTE £35,000

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: International Exhibition Sales ...

Recruitment Genius: 2nd Line IT Support Engineer

£18000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Day In a Page

Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

Something wicked?

Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
10 best sun creams for body

10 best sun creams for body

Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon files

Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games
Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with cynicism and greed
How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map