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(UK) Warks: Autistic 10yo denied special school place; parents say son can't handle mainstream school

May 29, 2024, BBC News: Son will not start school due to SEND row – parents 

Parents say their son will not be starting secondary school in September unless they get the special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) support he needs.

Michelle and Neil, from Warwickshire, were offered a place at St Benedict’s High School in Alcester for their son Mylo.

But they say the 10-year-old, who has ADHD, autism and anxiety, needs a specialist school, as he would “shut down” in a secondary school setting, and have lodged an appeal with Warwickshire County Council.

The authority said it was working closely with the family to reach a solution.

Speaking to BBC Radio CWR, the parents said the council had sent an education, health and care (EHC) plan to St Benedict’s that contained incorrect information about Mylo’s needs.

The school told the council it could meet Mylo’s needs and made the offer of a school place in February.

But the parents said St Benedict's could not offer the appropriate SEND provision for Mylo and the school had agreed with them after it got the correct information.

Despite this, Michelle claimed the county council had told them he would have to attend St Benedict’s until their appeal was heard in the autumn, but she said they would not be sending him there.

'Wrong environment'

Asked what would happen if Mylo was put into a mainstream school, Michelle said: “He would completely shut down. He would become very introverted and highly anxious."

She added that he would be “very vulnerable” at a senior school, while Neil said it would be “entirely the wrong environment”.

“We’ve got a highly anxious child who is going to be put into the bear pit of the secondary education system,” his father said.

According to Neil, medical professionals said Mylo would need to be educated in smaller-sized classrooms.

He said they had found a private school that had classrooms of four pupils but the council told them it was too expensive. . . .

Michelle said: “This shouldn’t happen. It’s not just us going through this. Other families are having to do this too and it’s not fair.”

A council spokesperson said it was committed to working with parents, carers and schools in the best interests of children.

“We know that this can be a challenging process for families and understand the impact any delay may have,” they said.

“We are continuing to work closely with the family to seek a resolution, but it would not be appropriate to comment further on an individual case.”


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