PLP represented Francesca, a 15 year old with a rare genetic condition, in her challenge to Leeds City Council’s cuts to funding for post-16 education.

Leeds had announced that post-16 education for students with special educational needs would be cut to three days’ provision per week. It blamed the decision on cuts imposed by the Department of Education. PLP’s client challenged the cuts on the basis that local authorities are obliged by the Children and Families Act 2014 to provide the education described in students’ Education, Health and Care Plan, and cannot rely on lack of funding to provide less than is required. After issuing a judicial review, Leeds accepted that it had a duty to fund a five day programme. Our client’s mother said “A reduction in Francesca’s education, at a critical stage of her life would have limited her ability to reach her potential, isolated her from society and her peers, and increased her frustration. Given the complexity of Francesca’s needs, the provision required in her education, health and care plan would not have been met in those three days. I urge other parents to challenge these discriminatory cuts.”

PLP initially worked pro bono because legal aid was not available for the pre-action work. Because of this, Francesca’s mother had been turned away from all the law firms that she had approached.