Education Secretary Michael Gove loses High Court battle
Published: 17th May 2012 19:44:29
Education Secretary Michael Gove has lost a High Court battle with Essex County Council over government cuts to nursery funding.
The council claimed Mr Gove breached equality laws when he slashed part of its budget by £10m in 2010 - hitting the county's disabled children.
The High Court ruled Mr Gove's decision was unlawful and must be reviewed.
Mr Justice Mitting found Mr Gove had not met his legal obligations under equality laws.
Andrew Sharland, for Essex County Council, told the court the council was told its budget for nursery and primary school building projects would be about £27m for 2008 to 2011.
It said it had allocated more than £26m of that money, by June 2010, to building projects aimed at improving pre-school education, particularly for the disabled.
But when Mr Gove announced his cuts in July that year, the council was told to review its spending and identify any "uncommitted" funds, the court heard.
A dispute then arose between Westminster and Essex over how much money had been allocated - with government accountants estimating more than £12m was still in the pot, but the council insisting they had less then £2m left.
Essex County Council argued that by not consulting it before cutting funding by £10.7m, Mr Gove breached his "equality duties".
Mr Sharland told the court: "The grant was expressly aimed at meeting the needs of disabled children. Further, the level of funding was calculated taking into account the level of deprivation in a particular area."
He added: "It is clear that equality issues were neither 'central' to the decision making process nor exercised in substance with rigor and an open mind."
Government lawyers insisted the decision making process was correctly handled.
Mr Justice Mitting ruled: "Local authorities obviously would have greater knowledge of the impact the cuts would have on families in their areas and it would be reasonable for the Secretary of State to assume that any such detailed assessment would be carried out by the local authority."
He added: "Accordingly, I do not accept that the Secretary of State, either personally or through his officials, fully discharged the duty upon them."
The Department for Education has yet to comment.
At 14:05:21 in TechnologyChinese computing giant Lenovo has shown off what it hopes will be a rival to Google Glass.
At 14:02:01 in SportPeterborough United have signed former Sunderland and Tottenham goalkeeper Ben Alnwick on a three-year deal.
At 13:55:07 in Health
At 13:54:40 in EntertainmentTicketholders for the latest Secret Cinema screening of Back to the Future have yet to be told whether the event will resume, after Thursday's opening night was cancelled.
At 13:53:08 in ScotlandA man with two previous convictions for assault and robbery has been jailed for eight years over a botched armed raid.
At 13:52:31 in WalesA Pembrokeshire secondary has been put in special measures after failing to improve enough in the past year.
At 13:52:02 in EnglandPlans for a £13m development at Dorset County Museum have been unveiled.
At 13:50:16 in EnglandComedian and actor Johnny Vegas has been awarded an honorary doctorate from a Lancashire university.
At 13:46:01 in SportScotland's Ross Murdoch again got the better of countryman Michael Jamieson at Tollcross International Swimming Centre, this time in the 100m breaststroke heats.
At 13:40:23 in EnglandThe family of a Saudi Arabian student murdered in Essex, has urged her killer to hand themselves in.
Harvard CitationBBC News, 2012. Education Secretary Michael Gove loses High Court battle [Online] (Updated 17th May 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/1429306/Education-Secretary-Michael-Gove-loses-High-Court-battle [Accessed 25th Jul 2014]
News In Other Categories
A protest against the impact of conflict on medical staff in Gaza has taken place outside the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast.
A report by MPs suggests sexist attitudes, boring lessons and "gratuitous derogatory remarks" made by media commentators put women off sport.
Plans for a £13m development at Dorset County Museum have been unveiled.
Peterborough United have signed former Sunderland and Tottenham goalkeeper Ben Alnwick on a three-year deal.
With the doors to its brand new £1million training centre officially open, one of the UK's leading apprentice training providers, Bristol based S&B Automotive Academy, is showcasing its world-class facilities by launching a series of foreign student exchanges for the first time in its 41-year history. To get a flavour of what life is like as an apprentice in the UK, the Academy hosted 16 apprentice engineers and bus drivers from the G9 Automotive College in Hamburg, Germany, as part of a Europe-wide vocational training initiative called the ‘Leonardo Programme’ with support from the European Social Fund. In a reciprocal arrangement, S&B will be sending nine apprentices to Germany during February 2012 so that they can get an appreciation of life in the automotive industry on the Continent. A further three German exchange groups are being planned for next year. Designed to assist the development of vocational skills and training across Europe, including work placements for trainees, the Leonardo Programme has a budget of €1.75bn, which is helping to encourage UK organisations to work with their counterparts abroad. In what is expected to be another challenging year for employers in the UK automotive sector, S&B’s Chief Executive, Jon Winter, claims that the exchange initiative will bring many benefits to the Academy and its apprentices: “In a world of global automotive brands, it’s important for our learners to understand the international context of the industry they have chosen to make their career. This new exchange programme will enable apprentices and Academy staff alike to achieve a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the automotive arena in Europe. With the Academy’s influence also extending to the USA and Asia, there’s every possibility that this initiative could move further afield in the future.” Continued Winter: “The need for skilled technicians across the world is on the increase and we actively encourage our apprentices to look at broader horizons during their training. Many of them have already learned the phrase ‘Vorsprung durch Gelehrtheit’, quite simply, ‘Advancement through learning.” In the 2010/11 academic year, S&B doubled the number of successful Apprenticeships over the previous year with some 350 apprentices graduating from the Academy. At the same time, achievement levels reached an all-time high with an overall success rate of 85%. For those learners on the Advanced Apprenticeship three-year programme, success rates were even higher, at over 98%. PHOTO CAPTION: As part of their exchange visit, S&B Automotive Academy arranged for the German apprentices to visit Hampshire bus operator, Bluestar, at its Barton Park depot. The students are pictured with S&B’s Andy West (3rd right) and Steve Prewett, Bluestar’s Area Engineering Manager (2nd right). Ends http://www.sandbaa.com