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(UK) Kent: 27 schools reject autistic 13-y-o; no school place for a year

Mar 3, 2022, Kent Online: Rainham teenager has tried 27 schools across Kent for a place

SE England A teenager has been turned away from 27 schools due to his complex needs and a lack of space leaving him out of education for almost a year. Rainham resident Leanne Dale has tried everything she can to secure her son Jack a place in a special education facility but has been unsuccessful – even trying as far as Bromley and Sidcup. Medway Council's education department has been helping the family to locate a suitable space for the 13-year-old and have arranged for home tuition in the meantime. Leanne told how Jack, who has ADHD, autism and anxiety disorder, has not attended school since last April after it was recommend he stayed at home due to his challenging behaviour. She was told work would be sent for him but said it was not until July the family received the first home-schooling pack. Leanne also said there has been no contact from Jack's last school – Bradfields Academy, Chatham – despite still being on their register. The 45-year-old said: "We have got nothing. It has been really hard. It is causing so much stress. "There is a shortage of schools but Jack is still entitled to a space. It is unbelievable. There must be a place somewhere. It is disgusting really. "It is affecting his mental health. He is missing out on the social aspect too. It is taking a strain on everybody…. Leanne, of Moor Park Close, has been in constant contact with the council's SEN team and its disability social worker, but was told 13 schools had no space and the other 14 could not meet his needs. The council has tried state and independent schools in Medway and in neighbouring local authorities. Celia Buxton, assistant director for education and SEND, said: "We are doing everything we can to help find a suitable school place, which is able to meet his complex needs. "We have contacted a number of schools but unfortunately they either do not have any vacancies or are unable to meet his individual needs…. "I am only fighting for what he is entitled to. There is no light at the end on the tunnel. It is really difficult." The mum-of-two confirmed home tuition is currently being arranged but is still "desperate" for Jack to attend a school.


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