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(UK) Bedfordshire: Autistic boy misses a year of school; council didn't follow plan

Aug 13, 2021, BBC News: Bedfordshire child missed a year of school after council delays

E. England A child missed a year of education because of "poor council practice," an ombudsman has found. The boy stopped attending primary school in November 2018 because of behavioural difficulties and was later diagnosed with an autism condition. Central Bedfordshire Council did not provide alternative education until September 2019, and that was part-time…. It initially declined to carry out an education, health and care (EHC) assessment because it wanted instead to reintegrate him back into his mainstream primary school, a report said . The EHC was eventually carried out in February 2020 and an education plan issued at the end of August. The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman said the council should have acted promptly and considered whether his current school was suitable, but wrongly placed responsibility for this on the school. The investigation also found it "allowed the case to drift," rather than nominate someone to co-ordinate its action. 'Systemic problems' Parents with special educational needs have previously said they faced "a constant battle to get the most basic support" from the authority. Michael King from the ombudsman said: "This case is yet another example of a child being deprived of their rightful education because of poor council practice. "That it is such a common occurrence, points to systemic problems, not just locally but nationwide…. The authority agreed to pay £1,250 [$1700] to the boy's parents for their distress and trouble in bringing the complaint, as well as £4,800 [$6700] to be used to benefit their son's education.


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