By lucy buckland firstname.lastname@example.org
CROYDON Council failed three teenagers from war-torn Afghanistan by not giving them access to any education for almost ten months.
At a High Court hearing on Tuesday, it emerged the 14-year-old unaccompanied asylum seekers had been trying to get into a mainstream secondary school since they arrived in the borough in December.
The court heard because the governor of one Croydon academy was away in America, the boys would be waiting at least another ten days for an interview.
All three boys, who are fostered, were only offered places at a language school which runs six-week morning courses for adults despite there being places available in Addington High and Quest Academy.
Representing the boys, Ian Wise told the court Croydon Council had only decided to send the boys on a language course after a previous judicial review in September.
He said: “We would say it is extraordinary that the local authority this morning comes forward with a skeletal argument. It is a lamentable situation.”
Mr Wise argued the council was deeply at fault as it had placed two of the boys – one has since found a school – in the college without checking if they needed English lessons.
A statement from one of the boy’s teachers read in court said she was “concerned” that one boy was not in mainstream school.
Mr Wise said: “She noticed the boys have enormous potential and one has considerable natural intelligence and ability.
“The local authority failed to demonstrate they even considered the needs of the individual child.”
Representing the council, Jennie Richards told the court the council was trying to get places for the remaining two boys as soon as possible.
During his verdict, Judge Keith Lindblom blasted the authority for not fulfilling its responsibility by putting the three boys into immediate mainstream education and ordered the council to provide suitable education for the pair by next Wednesday.
He said: “At the heart of this case there are two children who are not in education.
“It is… a lamentable failure by the local educational authority.”
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