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The ombudsman said the boy spent months without full-time education

A mother and her son who has special educational needs has twice been failed by a local authority, the Local Government Ombudsman has said.

In 2018, Norfolk County Council was accused by the ombudsman of not ensuring the boy received suitable education for a period of eight months.

Now it is accused of leaving him without suitable education for seven months after school placement problems.

The council said it has apologised to the family and paid compensation.

The ombudsman was asked to investigate after the mother said the council had failed to provide her son with a suitable education after his school placement broke down, meaning he was without proper education.

During that time, the mother had to pay for a personal tutor.

Ombudsman Michael King said: “I am concerned Norfolk Council has again failed this boy and not provided him with an education appropriate for his needs, despite being made aware the school he was attending was no longer suitable.”

‘Regular updates’

He said the council has agreed to compensate the mother for the cost of a tutor, pay her £1,400 for the time the son was without a suitable education and a further £250 for the distress it caused.

Mr King has told the council to provide a select committee with regular updates of the number of children out of education and the average time to find an alternative place for them.

He said he hoped this would “ensure other children and their families do not fall through the cracks as has happened in this case”.

John Fisher, cabinet member for children’s services at the council, said all the recommendations had been accepted.

“This case reflects the national pressure that all local authorities across the country are experiencing when it comes to meeting the ever increasing demand from families for special educational needs and disability support for their children,” he said.


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