Reading mum claims children’s services failed over her son’s school move

A mother from Reading has complained that the council’s children’s services messed up her son’s move to a boarding school with special needs.

The problems started when her son’s condition deteriorated and he became unable to speak, which affected his upbringing.

The boy had his education arranged by Reading Borough Council Children’s Services which was handed over to council-owned company Brighter Futures for Children in December 2018.

Planning for his education by the council began in 2016 through an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP). Since 2019, he had been attending a special school.

But unfortunately, the boy’s condition deteriorated to the point where he was unable to speak, prompting his mother to request an EHCP examination.

Brighter Futures for Children (BFfC) finally revised the EHCP in June 2020.

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The mother complained that the BFfC had appealed the content of the EHCP and the school it contained, necessitating costly legal action.

His complaint was investigated by the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman (LGO), but the ombudsman ruled in favor of the council.

The legal action taken by the mother was to appeal to a Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Tribunal (SEND), which arbitrates disputes between families and local authorities over special needs decisions.

During the process, child services and the mother agreed that her son should be in full-time residential care, which was upheld by the court.

The mother had to pay for representation in court and hoped to recover the costs as compensation from Reading Children’s Services.

She was also unhappy with a delay in the transition from his special school to the boarding school (boarding school) he eventually went to, saying the children’s department failed to organize his son’s education and the postponement. of entering his new school.

But the ombudsman ruled that the delayed transition was not the fault of Brighter Futures for Children, as this process was arranged between the two schools.

The ombudsman said he cannot investigate the delay in reviewing the EHC plan in 2019 and complaints about lack of education during the court process because the LGO cannot investigate cases that have already been appealed.

The mother received no compensation for her complaints.

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In the end, the boy now receives a special needs boarding school education.

A BFfC spokesperson said: “We note the decision of the mediator in this case that there was no fault in the manner in which the BFfC arranged the provision of the boy’s EHCP.

“The Ombudsman concluded that the BFfC had taken reasonable steps to arrange the boy’s disposition in the EHCP and that the delays in his entry into the new school were not due to any fault on the part of the BFfC.

“We always aim to work closely with parents, children and professionals to organize the best possible support for children and young people with SEND in Reading.

“Our aim in all cases is to ensure that the needs of the child are at the center of everything we do.”