Perth and Kinross Council told to apologise after disabled girl banned from school trip

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Perth and Kinross Council has been told to apologise to a disabled girl after she was excluded from attending an overseas school trip.

The secondary school and pupil involved have not been identified but the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO) judgement, which has just been issued, highlights shortcomings in how the matter was handled.

The complaint was taken up by an MSP, referred to as Ms C, on behalf of her constituent (Mrs B) about the decision made by the school to exclude her daughter (Miss A) from going on the trip.

“The school understood Miss A’s health to be particularly poor and had concerns about safely managing her condition during the trip,” said the report.

“The school carried out an additional risk assessment and sought advice from the council, who advised that a parent or guardian should accompany Miss A, otherwise she should be excluded for safety reasons.

“Ultimately, a parent or guardian could not attend, and Miss A did not go on the trip. Ms C complained that the school failed to take all relevant information into account when they decided to remove Miss A from the trip.”

Concerns were also raised about how the school communicated the decision to exclude the girl to her and her mother.

The report concludes: “We found that, due to their concerns about her health, it was reasonable that the school carried out an additional risk assessment about Miss A’s attendance on the trip. However, we found that the school should have given Mrs B a timescale to provide medical documents, which they did not.

“We also found that, during the decision making process, the school should have discussed Miss A’s health and the support she may need during the trip with her.

“We also considered that the decision to remove Miss A from the trip should have been communicated to her directly by the school, and it was not.”

The council has been asked to apologise to the girl and her mother and to take on board various recommendations in the future to avoid a similar situation.

A council spokesperson said: “We note the Ombudsman’s decision and we have addressed their recommendations as set out in the decision report.”