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(UK) Suffolk: 5yo with multiple disabilities denied school place

Mar 3, 2024, Suffolk NewsBury St Edmunds and Thetford, speaks of wait for school place for son with special needs

E. England

A mum has said she feels ‘let down’ as her young son is still waiting for a specialist school place.

Stephanie Draves, 39, from Brandon, near Bury St Edmunds and Thetford, shared her and son Tyler French’s story through SuffolkNews in November last year.

She said her family was among those who had been ‘failed’ by Suffolk County Council (SCC), the local education authority, over a lack of suitable education for their children.

Tyler, five, who has a range of needs, should have started his reception year in September, but still does not have a place at a specialist school.

His mum said he was having some tutoring via the local authority from two ‘amazing’ tutors, for nine hours a week, but it was not an ideal situation. . . .

She said she was told by SCC to expect a specialist school place for September 2024. Stephanie said it was a ‘waiting game’.

She said: “Tyler will have basically had a whole year when he’s missed out on specialist schooling. I don’t think it’s doing well for him to be honest, him being at home. . . .

Tyler has a range of diagnoses including autism, developmental delay and facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy, the latter of which affects the muscles in his face, shoulders and arms. He is also wobbly walking and needs someone with him 24/7 and has a feeding tube in his stomach.

His education, health and care plan (EHCP), a legal document which outlines the SEND (special educational needs and/or disabilities) support he must receive, says he must be in a specialist setting. However, six specialist schools had all turned him down, said Stephanie.

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