Edgware parents launch petition over disabled daughter's schooling

Times Series: Sabrina with parents, Debbie and Kenny Leigh Sabrina with parents, Debbie and Kenny Leigh

A petition urging councillors to make a U-turn on their decision to deny a disabled teenager the chance to go to a “tailor made” residential unit has reached more than 500 signatures.

Sabrina Leigh, of Glengall Road, Edgware, has a rare form of cerebral palsy and needs 24 hour care, so was offered a place at Langdon Jewish College, in Manchester.

But the 19-year-old’s parents, Debbie and Kenny Leigh, were left devastated when Barnet Borough Council refused to pay the £68,000 a year school fees.

Instead, they said she could continue her schooling at Oak Tree, in Southgate, for a third year to keep her “as close as possible” to Barnet.

Just one week after a petition about the teenager’s plight was launched, it has seen 547 signatures.

Mr Leigh said: “It’s overwhelming to see how many people have supported this. It goes to show how much this means to us and Sabrina.

“We’re still holding out hope they will change their minds. We know Langdon is the best place for Sabrina, and we want the best for our daughter.”

After completing a third term at Oak Trees, she would then have to move into a residential unit with Jewish charity Norwood – which would cost Barnet a minimum of £102,000 a year.

Her parents plan to appeal to Barnet Borough Council’s SEN Tribunal and have also spoken to an educational lawyer.

Mr Leigh added: “Why should our disabled daughter be denied the same rights as any other teenager? It’s just not fair.”

A statement from Barnet Borough Council said: “The council aims to make provision for its vulnerable adults and children as close as possible to Barnet.

“Provision is available for this young person locally – both for her supported living and for her education.”

To sign the petition, click here.

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