Cornwall Council (19 008 091)

Category : Education > Alternative provision

Decision : Upheld

Decision date : 21 Jan 2021

Summary: Mr F’s son, B, suffers from anxiety. Mr F complained the Council did not provide education for B when he was unable to attend school due to illness. B missed education because of a flaw in the service designed by the Council to fulfil its duties to children unable to attend school. The Council “outsourced” its responsibilities to schools and did not retain sufficient oversight and control. This meant the Council was either unaware or not in a position to act when things went wrong.  The Council relied on B’s school to make decisions about B’s education. When attempts to secure B’s return to school failed, the Council should have arranged suitable education for him. The service designed by the Council failed. B was without education for four months as a result.


The Ombdusman upheld the complaint and found fault casuing injustice.


To remedy the injustice caused by these faults, we recommend the Council:

  • apologises to Mr F for failing to uphold his complaint;
  • apologises to B for failing to assess his needs and make alternative arrangements for his education between April and July 2019 when efforts to secure his return to school had failed;
  • makes a symbolic payment of £1,200 to B’s parents to acknowledge the education he has missed;
  • reviews its policies and procedures to ensure the Council retains oversight and responsibility for its duties to children unable to attend school; and
  • conducts an audit of children not attending school, or not attending full-time, to ensure they are receiving suitable education and the Council is meeting itsduties to them.

The Council accepted our recommendations.

Ombudsman satisfied with Council's response: 09 June 2021.

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