'She deserves to go to a good school' - Edgware parents run out of money to take daughter's case to court

Debbie and Kenny Leigh with daughter, Sabrina

Debbie and Kenny Leigh with daughter, Sabrina

First published in News
Last updated
Times Series: Photograph of the Author by , Chief Reporter

A couple who are fighting to get their disabled daughter into a “tailor made” school have run out of money to take the case to court.

Debbie and Kenny Leigh, of Glengall Road, Edgware, had wanted 19-year-old Sabrina to attend the specialised Langdon College in Manchester, as she has a rare form of cerebral palsy.

But after Barnet Borough Council refused to spend the £68,000 on her fees, her divorced parents were forced to appeal to the authority’s special educational needs tribunal.

Although the matter is due to be heard in September, Mr and Mrs Leigh had wanted to speed the process up by taking the case to court.

Mrs Leigh has recently overcome breast cancer and is currently battling severe depression due to the strain of her daughter’s situation.

Mr Leigh said: “It makes me angry that because of financial restrictions, we can’t give her the help she deserves, although we do understand it.

“We just don’t have enough money to do what’s best for our daughter, you’ve got no idea how frustrating that is. She deserves to go to a good school.

“I’m not eligible for legal aid and eveb though Debbie is, she is too drained and exhausted to pursue it. We’re just at a loss.”

In 2004, Sabrina's family appealed against Barnet Council’s decision not to pay for her place at special school Kisharon, in Golders Green, in the High Court and won.

A total of 918 people signed a petition to urge the council to make a U-turn on their decision.

Sabrina's parents are also entertaining the possibility of her moving to the Langdon Centre in Edgware.

Until then, Barnet Borough Council says she can continue her schooling at Oak Tree, in Southgate, for a third term before moving to a residential unit with charity Norwood – which would cost £102,000 a year.

The young girl is currently living in Valley Way Residential Unit but her parents fear she will have nowhere to live when her contract runs out at the end of August.

Mr Leigh said: “We can’t have her living with either of us, as we just can’t cope with it.”

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.”

Comments (1)

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9:48pm Tue 5 Aug 14

Neville Longbottom says...

“We can’t have her living with either of us, as we just can’t cope with it,” shouldn't of had a child if they didn't want to look after it no matter what.

I don't pay council tax to have other peoples children sent to school 300 miles away. If you want here to live in Manchester, move there.

As I said before what is wrong with somewhere local and non Jewish?
“We can’t have her living with either of us, as we just can’t cope with it,” shouldn't of had a child if they didn't want to look after it no matter what. I don't pay council tax to have other peoples children sent to school 300 miles away. If you want here to live in Manchester, move there. As I said before what is wrong with somewhere local and non Jewish? Neville Longbottom
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