The Central Beds Council admits it “did not provide the boy with an alternative education from March 2021, when it became known that he was not attending his school”, the statement said.
A complaint from her mother to the council in August 2021 was investigated by an independent investigator and upheld.
“We have fully considered these findings and accept the conclusion that there have been avoidable delays in the child’s education,” the Central Beds Council said.
“We are very sorry for the problems experienced by the family. We understand the impact this has had on them and we apologize unreservedly.
“It is important to be open and transparent about the findings of the complaint, so we have agreed with the investigator and the parent to release an anonymized version of the report.”
The statement reveals that the local authority was told in May 2021 by a neuropsychiatric consultant that the child had autism spectrum disorder, demand avoidance behaviors and associated extreme anxiety.
“This prevented him from accessing school for medical reasons. The ability to respond proportionately during the child’s prolonged absence from school was hampered by the absence of medical evidence and explanations .
“Central Beds Council has asked the parent to provide substantial evidence as to why the child was unable to attend school due to medical issues.
“When she filed the complaint, the mother reported that her son had missed his education for more than five months. She stayed home to look after him, and the family suffered avoidable distress and anxiety.
“No medical evidence of the extent of the child’s severe anxiety was provided by the parents at the school or Central Beds Council’s Access and Inclusion Service at the time of the extended absence. of the child.
“The Central Beds Council was not in possession of all the information necessary to enable effective decision-making regarding the provision of medical needs,” the statement added.
“Consequently, the board identified that the educational requirements of the child did not meet the criteria for medical need at the time.
“We recognize that we have not listened enough to the views of the parent and the child in dealing with the difficulties they have encountered at school.
“Our approach was too dependent on the views of the child’s school and too focused on adhering to a strict process and criteria, rather than a holistic view of the child’s situation.
“Clinical evidence of the child’s needs was provided in May 2021, but we have decided that this is insufficient medical evidence to meet the threshold in section 19 of the Education Act 1996.
“Although the investigator confirmed that the Article 19 threshold was not met in this case, we accept that we should have considered the explanation for the child’s non-participation when there was a medical reason and special educational needs.
“This should have triggered the council’s obligation to immediately organize an alternative offer. As this did not happen, the boy was unable to attend school and missed out on a considerable part of his right to education. ‘education.”
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This notice was published: 2022-04-01 15:23:12