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(UK) Leicester: Non-verbal boy left with no school place;"all school were full"/5 on wait list

Sept 2, 2020, BBC: Leicester family's shock over 'full' special needs schools (Central England) The family of a boy with autism has been left "shocked" at being told there is no school place for him. Vivek Saxena's family was told last week all schools in Leicester were full, despite applying for a place in December. The 11-year-old's grandmother, Nirmala Bhojani, said the news came after the "hardest ever experience" of lockdown. Leicester City Council said it had offered a home schooling package while it worked to find a vacancy. Vivek is non-verbal, does not sleep well and may bite and kick when angry. The family visited several schools last year and said "everything seemed positive". They applied for a place in December but then heard nothing. Many schools in Leicester reopened last week, days earlier than the rest of England. Mrs Bhojani said: "We waited and waited, and we rang them and they said, 'We will get back to you'. I think they just expected us to sit there forever. "When it got to last week and the schools started opening we got worried so we rang up, only to be told they were all full. "We were quite surprised, shocked and stressed out because having Vivek at home through the lockdown has been very difficult. "Having him at home for the last three months has been the hardest ever experience for his parents and myself." Leicester has seen the longest lockdown restrictions in England, after a rise in coronavirus cases in June, leading to schooling problems for some families. The council's offer of a home schooling package has been rejected. Waiting list Mrs Bhojani said: "It is a stupid suggestion as he is desperate to go to school. He has a routine and even gets his school bag and stands by the door at eight o'clock. "He needs that social interaction, he wants to be in the playground. He is fed up of being stuck at home." The council confirmed it had a waiting list of five children who have particularly specialist acute needs. A spokesman insisted they had been making "enormous efforts" to find a space and were in the "process of providing a bespoke remote learning education package" as an interim measure.


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