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Disabled Elm Park teen wins college return appeal

PUBLISHED: 14:08 07 November 2014 | UPDATED: 14:16 07 November 2014

Daisy Young at the National Star College. Picture: Livability

Daisy Young at the National Star College. Picture: Livability

Archant

An ambitious 19-year-old wanted to return to education with her friends but faced serious obstacles ­because of her disabilities and a council funding decision.

But as Daisy Young, of Carfax Road, Elm Park, settles happily back in to the college that caters for her needs, her mother spoke of their struggle.

In February the family began trying to get funding for Daisy, who suffers from cerebral palsy, epilepsy and has a paralysed vocal cord, to return to the National Star College in Cheltenham where she had been “massively happy” for three years.

But Havering Council ­rejected their funding appeal because it believed mainstream colleges could provide for her.

Mother Sharon Reid, 52, said: “Daisy was devastated. She kept asking ‘when am I going back to college’.

“We explained we didn’t know what was happening but that we would fight for funding.”

Daisy previously attended Frances Bardsley School for Girls, in Romford, and Dicorts School, in Harold Hill.

But she never “got much out of mainstream schools” and had suffered from bullying, Mrs Reid said.

The family approached a solicitor and they mounted an ­appeal to the council claiming that its assessment on Daisy “had no legal footing”.

They waited anxiously for a response and just 20 minutes before the official deadline, the council replied to the solicitors announcing Daisy would be funded.

Mrs Reid said: “When I explained to her, she put her head in my lap and cried because she was so happy that she was going back to college again.”

Cllr Meg Davis, cabinet member for children and learning, said: “We reviewed Daisy’s case and agreed that her education would benefit more from remaining at her existing college. We wish her every success in her future studies.”

But Mrs Reid is concerned about future funding if the family decide next year that it would be best for Daisy to complete another year at the school.

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