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(UK) Disabled kids going months/yrs with no school despite $10.9B more in funding

July 6, 2022, Guardian: Children too anxious to attend school being failed by English councils – report https://www.theguardian.com/education/2022/jul/07/children-anxiety-schools-alternative-education-ombudsman-report-english-councils

Ombudsman says children are going months and even years without proper alternative education

Councils are failing to put adequate alternative education in place for the growing numbers of children in England who are unable to attend school because of social anxiety, according to a report by the local government ombudsman.

Many have complex special educational needs and are unable to go to school because there are no suitable places available in their area, meaning they can go months and even years without any proper alternative arrangements, the report said.

In one case, an autistic boy with extreme anxiety who was unable to attend his mainstream school was given just five hours a week online tuition in English and maths for a year, with no proper consideration for how he might study for the rest of his GSCE subjects.

In another example, a teenager was without a school place – or proper alternative education – for almost 14 months after moving to an area in the middle of the school term, at a time when she too should have been preparing for her GCSEs.

Parents have a duty to ensure their children receive a suitable, full-time education. Under the law however, where children are not in school because of illness, exclusion or otherwise, councils are required to assess and make arrangements to provide a proper alternative education where required….

In a separate case highlighted by the ombudsman, a mother made a complaint about Dorset council after her son, who has special educational needs, missed out on his education for almost two years.

The boy, who has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and traits of autism, became unable to attend school because of high levels of stress and anxiety. The ombudsman found the council failed to provide him with adequate alternative education and social support between February 2020 and November 2021. The family has bee

n awarded £8,800 in compensation….

A Department for Education spokesperson said: “Local authorities are responsible for ensuring there are sufficient school places for all children in their area, and we have increased high needs funding for them to £9.1bn [$10.9B] overall next year, to help them meet the needs of children with special educational needs and disabilities. We encourage them to work collaboratively with parents and local partners so the right range of provision is available for all children.”

One girl was without a proper education for almost 14 months when she should have been preparing for her GCSEs. Posed by model. Photograph: Getty Images/iStockphoto

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