Cornwall Council (17 016 736)

Category : Education > Special educational needs

Decision : Upheld

Decision date : 23 Jan 2019

Summary: Miss X complains the Council has failed to provide her son with a suitable full time education since he was excluded from Primary School in October 2015. She says there were delays in the Council assessing her son’s educational needs and it sent him to a school some distance away and failed to provide help with transport costs.

Finding

The Ombudsman upheld the complaint and found fault causing injustice.

Recommendations

To remedy the complaint, the Council has agreed to:

  • Pay the family £2,500 to recognise the injustice caused as a result of the education Y missed and the additional time and trouble and distress this caused Miss X.
  • Due to the prolonged period Y has been without education the Council should pay Miss X £1,000. This would allow her to fund additional activities for Y outside of school suitable for his needs.
  • Write to the family to apologise for the Council’s failure to assess Y for an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP) in 2015 and August 2016.

In addition to this the Council should also:

  • produce guidance for its children’s services and education departments regarding information sharing and responsibilities around children with special educational needs (SEN) and children who are either out of education or not receiving full time education; and
  • amend its guidance on children eligible for an EHCP assessment to ensure these are lawful and in line with the legislation, guidance and case law. The Council should also ensure any guidance makes it clear that it is prepared to depart from its own criteria where there is a compelling reason to do so.

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