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(UK) Surrey: 11-y-o with ASD without school place; 'very high demand' for SEND school places

Sept 15, 2022,Surrey Live: Leatherhead mum's fury at Surrey County Council for 'failing' to find autistic son school place https://www.getsurrey.co.uk/news/surrey-news/leatherhead-mums-fury-surrey-county-25018254

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The council admitted they had experienced "very high demand" for SEND school places

The mother of an autistic 11-year-old boy has vented her fury at a council for failing to find her son an appropriate secondary school. Abigail, whose surname isn't mentioned for safety reasons, said Surrey County Council have failed to find her son, Elijah, a place at a school which would be able to cater to his needs.

Still without a school place as term starts, Abigail, from Leatherhead, said she has been trying to get the council to find her son a place since the start of January this year when the council informed there was a shortage of school places for SEND children. Speaking to SurreyLive, she said: “It’s been extremely stressful. The knock-on effect has been huge and because he has autism he does need familiarity. He was aware back in January where all his cohort were going and his behaviour from then deteriorated massively as it was having an effect on him. “He’s upset and in his room all the time. It’s horrible and so sad to see him like that knowing we’ve done everything we possibly can and it's heartbreaking. I’ve gone round and round in circles and emailed everyone in the council. “I want the best for my son but at this rate I don’t know what to do. I’ve wasted so much time trying to get them to do their job. I feel exhausted and just feel heartbroken for my little boy.” Abigail insists there are appropriate schools for Elijah to attend but that the council have not done enough to find him the right environment. It led to her launching a complaint against the council in March and although the council have also suggested at home tutoring she says this would lead to “meltdowns.”… When asked to respond to Abigail's complaints Surrey County Council said they could not respond on individual cases but admitted there had been “high demand” for admissions. A spokesperson said: “Although it wouldn’t be appropriate for us to comment on individual children, we always strive to work in the best interests of children and their families. We are experiencing very high demand in our admissions team this year and are working hard to process applications as quickly as possible.

Abigail has been trying to find her son an appropriate school place for almost the whole of this year (Image: UGC)