My son has a diagnosis of ASD, Tourette’s, separation anxiety, generalised anxiety and hypermobility. In December 2019 he began refusing school and would try to make himself sick to avoid going due to his anxiety.
By February 2020 he stopped attending school, the school were brilliant in trying to get him back in trying various different things but unfortunately were unsuccessful. We approached the LA to begin the process for an EHCP however they refused to do an assessment, we never received any feedback as to why this was. We then chased the LA to get in the Education Welfare Officer (EWO) involved during this time we advised them of their duty under Section 19 (Education Act) to which the response we were told was “it’s the schools responsibility”. The school had already said they don’t know what else they could do to try and help and were also chasing the LA for help to which they received very little communication.
It took a further four weeks of the school and us chasing the LA to initiate another EHCP assessment which again was refused and was told it was due to insufficient evidence even though we submitted 22 documents from various professionals. We then wrote to the director of children’s services In Suffolk for some alternative tuition and for a meeting to discuss our concerns, he then put us on to the Head of SEN who then overturned the decision for assessment. We was also advised that we had to have CISS involved however CISS refused the application for support from the school.
The Head of SEN also said on numerous occasions that she would get in touch with the school to offer advice as “it is their responsibility” even though we stated Section 19 states it is the responsibility of the LA, however, 16 months later, the school have still not had any contact from them. We contacted the local MP for support who also contacted the LA with no response. We then logged an official complaint with the LA and didn’t received a response until a month after their own timescale.
The response to the complaint was poor and did not answer any of the questions we put in our complaint. During the process of obtaining the EHCP we queried as to why the school named in the EHCP was the school he hasn’t been attending for months and we were told by our family services worker that it was just a formality, only to later find out after it was finalised that this wasn’t the case. The EHCP also had incorrect postcode and no provision for any of my sons health needs. We was therefore outside of timescale to appeal this to tribunal. Over the past 16months my son has received no education despite us chasing the LA with countless emails and being ignored. We then got in touch with a solicitor to begin the proceedings for a Judicial Review Pre-action letter and then informed the LA that we had done so and requested a meeting with the director of children’s services.
They apologised for the poor communication and ensured us it would improve. We were advised to look in to other schools and feedback to our family services worker with where we would like to apply for. We did this and informed them of our decision for a school which would perfectly meet all of our sons needs. A week later we were informed that they are taking it to panel along with a specialist unit which not only had we already said a unit isn’t an appropriate environment but it isn’t even built yet and we have had no information about it.
We have requested a timescale in several emails as to when actions will be completed but they have ignored this request every time without even acknowledging it. We are now 16months down the line and in exactly the same position with no support from the LA, minimal communication (unless we email) and my son has still received no form of education and there seems to be no end in sight.
Obviously my son would require a very intensive transition package to reintegrate him back into school and have asked the LA how/who would take lead of this however this has been ignored so as far as we are concerned at the moment it doesn’t even look like my son will be starting education in September of this year.
We are appalled with LA at how they can leave a child with a disability with no education for 16months.