Man told to support daughter's education

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The Independent Online
A STUDENT made legal history yesterday when a court ordered that her father should pay for her to continue in education.

Fiona Gordon, 18, started legal action against her father Anthony under new laws allowing children to apply for legal aid and take a parent to court.

She took action when she realised her father's maintenance would run out on her 18th birthday - halfway through her A-levels.

But Portsmouth County Court ordered Mr Gordon to continue paying pounds 140-a-month in maintenance until Fiona finishes education.

Fiona, of Emsworth, Hampshire, said: 'I feel what I have done is important. It has given me the opportunity to continue with my education and that is something I want to do. I just hope it will pave the way for other young people to do the same thing and use the new laws that are available.'

Her mother Judy, an assistant probation officer, was ineligible for legal aid. But Fiona, who was then 17, consulted Beverley Ryall, a solicitor, and the pair took the case to the family division of the county court.

Mrs Gordon said: 'There was no way Fiona would have been able to continue with her studies if this had not happened because I could not afford to support her on my own.' Fiona, who attends Havant College, is studying for A-levels in theology, philosophy, sociology and maths and hopes to go on to university.

Lecturers in further education colleges in England and Wales yesterday voted for a one- day strike on Thursday in protest against new contracts. The action by the Natfhe union could affect thousands of students about to start A-level and GCSE examinations.