Page last updated at 00:13 GMT, Thursday, 21 January 2010

Cancelled school trip criticised

School sign
The EHRC said the school and council had not acted unlawfully

A council has been criticised by the equality commission for having had a "lack of planning and foresight" after it cancelled a school's annual trip.

Highland Council stopped the trip for pupils at Inverness's Crown Primary because of potential legal action over the exclusion of a disabled child.

The criticism of the council is contained in a document from the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

However, it added the council and school had not done anything unlawful.

The stay at an outdoor activity centre in the Cairngorms has been held annually for children at the city school.

Highland Council cancelled this year's trip to Craggan last month to avoid legal action after Donna Williamson said her daughter was physically unable to take part in the activities planned.

'Easiest answer'

In the document seen by BBC Scotland, the EHRC said it needed more information on the case to comment fully.

It went on: "However, there appears to have been a lack of planning and foresight and the council's approach in scrapping the trip entirely may not have been proportionate."

The document reads: "What does appear to have happened is that the council felt unable to defend their actions and decided the easiest answer was to withdraw the trip entirely."

The EHRC said the council's education director was aware of the steps needed to ensure all pupils felt included, but added that it hoped practice in other schools could be better demonstrated than in this case.

Following the cancellation of the trip, Highland Council said the school had tried hard to meet the needs of the disabled child.

The authority said there was no alternative to cancelling after taking legal advice.

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