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Monday, 11 February, 2002, 12:24 GMT
Legal move for autistic boy's schooling
Eight-year-old James Phillips
James has already won the right to specialist education
The family of an autistic boy from south Wales is preparing a High Court action over their son's education.

The parents of eight-year-old James Phillips claim he is not receiving the education and therapy from Newport Council to which he is entitled.

Adrian Phillips and his autistic son James, aged 8
Adrian Phillips has given up a managerial job to teach his son

James is being taught at home by his father, who is refusing to send his son back to school unless the level of specialist care James requires is fully met.

The local authority has said it wants to reach agreement over the issue and is to employ a commercial speech therapy provider to ensure that happens.

In May 2001 the Phillips family won a High Court ruling that James had a right to the specialised education and therapy in school which his condition requires.

Nine months later the family is returning to the court seeking a judicial review to force their local education authority to establish the care which the ruling implies.

James Phillips
Refusnik: Adrian Phillips says James needs the provision at school

Father Adrian Phillips is currently teaching his son at home as he is refusing to send James to school until the education and therapy package is set up.

He said: "We have refused to send James to school until that provision is met because we know that we don't want to set him up to fail.

"He needs the safeguard of that extra provision to be successful."

A statement by Newport Council said the local authority was keen to resolve the case and had worked hard to provide all the care that James, at a time when there is a national shortage of therapists.

A spokesman said the council plans to employ a commercial provider of speech therapy for the time.

The provision for autistic education in north Wales took a step forward last month when the Welsh Assembly backed a 2m initiative to set up a school for autistic children in Denbighshire.

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Adrian Phillips
"He needs the safeguard of that extra provision to be successful."
See also:

13 Dec 01 | Education
Councils report rise in autism
08 Apr 00 | Health
Marchers demand autism register
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