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Friday, August 28, 1998 Published at 16:34 GMT 17:34 UK


Education

Dyslexic boy wins Cambridge funding

Alexander Faludy feared for his university place after the case

A dyslexic teenager will receive financial backing to study at Cambridge University despite losing a High Court battle for support, his local council has announced.

Portsmouth City Council said Alexander Faludy, 15, who has an IQ "off the normal scale", could receive more than £11,000-a-year to help him through his degree course.

The council's education officer said he was "mystified" why Alexander's parents had taken their case for special funding to court when their son had always been eligible for money under a different scheme.

Alexander, from Portsmouth, plans to go to Peterhouse College in October to study theology and history of art.

He is only able to write at a rate of two words a minute and needs special equipment to read books and write essays.

On Tuesday a High Court judge ruled that Portsmouth City Council was correct in deciding that it had no duty to assess Alexander for special education needs.

Alexander's parents said after the judgement that their son's place at Cambridge could be threatened.

Legal action 'mystery'

The council will now supply help through the Student Awards system, separate funding that the council's education officer, Andrew Seber, says he had advised Alexander's parents to apply for in February.

The grant includes a disability student award element allowing £10,000-a-year for a personal helper, £1,350-a-year for books and photocopying and a one-off payment of £3,950 for specialist equipment.

Mr Seber said: "It is a mystery to us why the family were advised to take legal action on a point which was not in doubt and when they were eligible for other funding anyway.

"Eventually, shortly before the hearing, the family did apply for a grant. The independent assessment was arranged by the parents for the day immediately following the legal hearing.

"Help will be offered, including the use of state-of-the-art technology to help Alexander.

"That could all have been done much earlier if the family had followed the grant application sooner. As it is, a great deal of public money has been spent both by the local education authority and through Alexander's support from the legal aid fund."



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25 Aug 98†|†Education
Dyslexic boy loses legal battle





Internet Links

BBC Education - Childrens Health: dyslexia

Dyspraxia Foundation

Peterhouse College

Portsmouth City Council


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