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The Reality of Failure to Educate Claims

Publication: Teaching Times

With the recent publication of exam results, there will inevitably be pupils who did not do as well as they had hoped. Some may seek to lay the blame for this at the door of their school, potentially through a failure to educate claim.

Broadly speaking, failure to educate claims fall into two categories. First, there are cases which arise because of a failure to diagnose Special Educational Needs (SEN), and put the appropriate support place. Secondly, there are claims which are brought because it is alleged that the teaching provided was in some way inadequate and fell far short of the mark.

However neither category of claim are easy for a claimant to win as claimants have a number of very significant hurdles to overcome if they are to succeed:

  1. The claimant has to show that the school or teacher in question fell below the standard expected of an ordinary competent school or teacher, i.e. did the school/teacher act like a proper and responsible teacher would have done in the situation? This is a high threshold to meet and there may be two or more accepted schools of thought on a particular issue. If the teacher conforms to one such practise, a claim for negligence will fail.

Where a child presents with some form of learning difficulty (whether diagnosed or not), a teacher must…

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