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(UK) Sheffield: Autistic son denied special school place

Aug 16, 2023, ITV News: 'I just want to learn': Sheffield mum says autistic son has been denied access to education

Central England

A mother whose autistic son has been unable to go to school for more than a year says she's "angry" that they've been left in limbo over his education and future.

Rio, 12, from Sheffield, has a number of complex conditions, including autism and ADHD.

After spending two months in hospital last year, experts said his school was no longer suitable, however an alternative hasn't been found….

Rio's absence means he's had no access to the free school meals that he is entitled to, and provision hasn't been set up for him at home through parcels or vouchers, as set out in the education act.

Sheffield-based human rights advocate, Chrissy Meleady, has been working on Rio's behalf,

and said: "They're in trouble. Rio should be having education all the way through, so anything that he's entitled to in a school environment he should be given that at home in terms of lessons, work being sent home, but he's been bereft of all that.

"The local authority has a responsibility to ensure that the school provides them and the school has fundamental responsibility to provide that, but has failed to do so."

From September, Rio will receive two hours of tuition at home each week. While it's progress, both Rio and his mum say it's still not enough.

In a statement, Councillor Dawn Dale, who heads Sheffield Council's Education, Children and Families committee, said: "Our aim is to make sure that every student with special needs in Sheffield receives an education that meets their needs…..

"A multi-agency Education, Health and Care Panel then decides which school would be best for the student based on their needs, the parent and student's preference and the available resources.

"When special school places are allocated, the local authority provides funding to the school for the school place and provision.

"Schools are required to ensure that children eligible for free school meals are able to receive them, even if they are not, for whatever reason, attending the school for a time."


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