Mar 6, 2020, Sheffield Star: Mum’s fury as autistic son, 10, is told there are ‘no school spaces’ in Sheffield for him https://www.thestar.co.uk/education/mums-fury-autistic-son-10-told-there-are-no-school-spaces-sheffield-him-2175430 A Sheffield mother has been forced to look for schools outside of the city after told by the council that there are no school spaces for her son, 10, who has special educational needs. Sabina France, from Richmond, applied for specialist secondary school places for her son Jake, 10, last July, submitting her application weeks before the deadline for SEN pupils. When she had still not heard anything by February 14, and the deadline for the council’s reply being the day after, Sabina phoned up, only to be told that there were no schools that could provide for her son, who has autism and learning difficulties. Sabina and her family have now been forced to look for private provision for Jake outside of Sheffield while they wait to lodge an appeal. And a delay in the appeals process, caused by a need to wait for paperwork from the council, means that Jake may not have a school place confirmed until June. This would give him just a three month transition period compared to other children with special educational needs (SEN) who have already started theirs in the run up to September. “I wish we had been told that there was no space for him a bit earlier. They should have told us without us having to ring up,” Sabina said. “It has caused a lot of unnecessary stress for our family, and it will be harder for Jake to transition to a new place in a short time. “We feel we have been kept out of the loop. If they had told us earlier then we could have started looking for other schools so Jake could have had a longer transition period. “Children with SEN need longer to get used to new places and meeting new people, and we don’t even know where he will be at this point. “We had trouble getting a primary school for Jake, so his needs have been known in the school system for years. “I know 15 other families in this situation as well. I just don’t think there are enough spaces for children with SEN in Sheffield.” Sheffield City Council has been approached for comment.