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(UK) Dorset Council fails student with ASD; no school provided for 2 yrs-calls for more funds

Sept 6, 2019, Bournemouth Echo: Former Dorset County Council failings left autistic boy with no proper education for two years A boy with autism was left without proper education for two years when a council failed to provide suitable alternatives after he struggled at mainstream school. The boy known as 'C', who also has ADHD, was almost excluded from a school in Dorset due to his behaviour. A Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman report found the former Dorset County Council failed to consider whether C needed an education health care (EHC) assessment and didn't provide suitable education alternatives. Now Dorset Council has apologised for the "stress and disruption caused" and will pay £1,000 [$1,200 U.S.] to C, as well as a further £300 [$370] to each of his parents. The council said it’s "working hard to improve the way it supports children and families with special educational needs." … By January 2017 there had been at least two reports concerning C's 'behavioural issues' and by mid-May that year C was "no longer willing to work with TAs and was refusing to attend school." Despite this, Dorset County Council did not amend C's EHC plan until he was "close to permanent exclusion." C stopped attending school in September 2017. In January 2018 C's parents complained to the county council over the level of education their son was receiving and he later started attending a community farm for eight hours per week…. Two months after removing the boy from the farm, he was sent to a private setting for children with special needs and autism. Around two months later, C’s parents removed him from the setting because of concerns about the education it was delivering and the behaviour of other students. The council put in place just four hours tuition a week, which only lasted a month. In April 2019, after the farm had received its registration, the boy returned for 15 hours a week and was given an additional three hours a week home tuition…. "Consequently, the boy has been out of full-time education for two years, affecting his ability to take his GCSE exams and his future prospects. His father has told us his son has spent a considerable time isolated at home, setting back his education, increasing his anxiety and adversely affecting his confidence and independence. “Unfortunately, this is not the first complaint we have upheld about the council’s provision for children with special educational needs: we have found fault on eight separate occasions since March 2018. I am concerned the council is not learning from these cases, and it suggests there are wider systemic issues that need to be addressed." As part of the Ombudsman's recommendations, the council will allocate £4,000 [$4,900] to be used for the boy's educational benefit. … Earlier this year, the leader of Dorset Council, Cllr Spencer Flower, wrote to the Secretary of State to highlight the ‘impossible’ situation councils face without additional funding. Cllr Parry added: "Like other councils, we’re in a situation where the funding we receive from Government just doesn’t match the increasing demand. We have been pushing MPs for more money, so our children and young people can receive the support they need and deserve."


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