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(UK) Oxfordshire: Council pays $8.5K for failing to have school place for autistic boy for 1 yr

Dec 15, 2022, LocalGovernmentLawyer.co: Council told to pay over £7k [$8.5K] after failing to provide alternative education for autistic boy https://www.localgovernmentlawyer.co.uk/education-law/394-education-news/52497-council-told-to-pay-over-7k-after-failing-to-provide-alternative-education-for-autistic-boy

Near London


An investigation by the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman has found that Oxfordshire County Council failed to provide alternative education for a boy with autism for a year.

The council has been told it needs to pay £5,000 to the boy’s mother to make up for the 12 months education he missed when he was unable to attend school, and a further £2,200 to reimburse the cost of the educational psychologist she had to commission because of the council’s delays.

The Ombudsman revealed that the council has not yet accepted the recommendations set out in the report.

The woman behind the complaint asked the Ombudsman to investigate after her autistic son was left without education when he became too anxious to attend his primary school.

She told the Ombudsman the lack of proper education had had a “significant impact on her daily life and employment.”

The report revealed that the council claimed the boy was receiving appropriate online education from the school after he stopped attending in June 2021, until February 2022.

However, both the council and the mother’s evidence suggest this education was “unsuitable” because there was no direct teaching, and what was offered was “not based on the boy’s needs”. The boy was not given any education at all between February and June 2022, the Ombudsman found.

The report revealed that the council did not check what education was on offer, did not review whether the school could meet the boy’s needs, or find out whether the online education the school was providing was enough to meet his needs when he remained out of school.

The Ombudsman investigated and concluded that there was fault with the way the council “requested medical evidence to show why the boy could not attend school, which is contrary to guidance".

The council was also criticised for the six-month delay faced by the family while it carried out a needs assessment to create an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) for the boy….

“I issued a special report about this issue earlier this year, and I am concerned that the evidence I have seen during this investigation suggests officers do not always unde

rstand their obligations in this respect.

“I am disappointed Oxfordshire County Council has not accepted the recommendations I have set out in my report. The local democratic process the report will now go through will allow council members to formally decide what value the council places on the lessons that can be learned from this case.”


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