The claimant had a type of dwarfism, Pseudoachondroplasia, that causes short limbs, hypermobile joints and pain. His secondary school knew of his condition when he joined them.

He found it difficult to walk any distance, even more so when carrying text books and school bags up stairs at school. He needed a footstool in the classroom due to his short limbs. He carried this around too.

The paediatric experts agreed that the above exertion caused the boy six months knee, back and hip pain over and above his normal condition. At that point a special education needs process was completed and he was given a full time learning support assistant for both his lessons and his transfer between them.

The Judge held the school had, in the meantime, negligently failed to take steps to prevent this injury, namely: to monitor the claimant’s condition from his start date at the school; to provide footstools in all buildings; to provide lockers near classes for his use and to initiate a rota of pupils carrying the boy’s books and footstool.

The Judge rejected the defendant’s arguments that the claimant’s previous ruling in his favour (without compensation), under the Disability Discrimination Act for Special Educational Needs, precluded him from a compensation claim. Nor did the provision of services for his disability under the Education Act make this a “ back door” claim which should not be heard .

Stephen Wagland -v- Surrey County Council. 24/25 July 2006