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(UK) Barnsley: Council fined $1,900; autistic girl permanently excluded in '22

Feb 23, 2024, Star: Council ordered to pay £1,500 [$1,900] after failing to provide alternative education for youngster with autism

Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council has been rapped after failing to provide alternative education for a youngster with autism who was excluded from school.

Central  England

An investigation by the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman has found that BMBC failed to provide alternative education for a girl with autism.

The youngster was permanently excluded from school in May 2022, and her mother told the ombudsman that the council had failed to find her daughter ‘adequate provision’ in a specialist school.

She added that her daughter’s previous suspensions could have been avoided if she had been given suitable provision.

The youngster’s mother asked the council to investigate its due diligence in setting up a new school place, and to demonstrate that its staff could support her daughter’s needs.

BMBC agreed to look into alternative provision for the youngster, and consulted with various schools to identify one that could meet her needs.

However, in September 2022, the child’s mother contacted the council to say that her daughter had still not received suitable education since the exclusion, and the council told her it would contact an alternative school and update her.

In October, the council responded to the mother’s complaint, and told her that the child’s previous school ‘could meet her needs’, and was satisfied that her provision was being met.

Following an escalation of the complaint, the council said it had ‘obtained evidence’ to show that the youngster’s provision was in place, and apologised that it had not investigated whether it was provided day-to-day.

However, the child’s mother remained dissatisfied and complained to the ombudsman, who ruled that BMBC was ‘at fault’ for ‘failing to provide’ the child with alternative education.

The ombudsman did not find fault with the council for failing to deliver the provision whilst the youngster was at school, and said that BMBC had ‘accepted’ the recommendations made.

BMBC was ordered to pay £1,500 [$1,900] for the child’s education, and her mum £300 [$380] for ‘distress’.

The council also agreed to set out a plan to implement tighter monitoring of provision for individual pupils. . . .


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