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West Berks Council ‘at fault’ as child left out of education for nine months





West Berkshire Council has been told to pay the mother of a child who missed out on nine months of education £3,500.

The local government ombudsman investigated a complaint by the mother that her child, who was out of school for emotional needs reasons, fell through the net.

West Berkshire Council offices in Market Street
West Berkshire Council offices in Market Street

Ms X’s child had been unable to attend the school where they were on roll since 2019 due to emotional-based school avoidance.

A child or young person with special educational needs has an Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plan.

The ombudsman agreed the council was at fault and there was a delay in the handling of a new EHC Plan which led to a young person missing out on over nine months of education.

There was also a failure in the council’s complaint handling and in keeping Ms X informed.

The council will also apologise and pay Ms X on behalf of her child £3,500 for the period of lost education between February and December 2023.

This takes into account that the education would not have been full time in any event, but that Ms X’s child has missed out on special educational provision and the opportunity to make progress towards starting formal exam preparation.

The council will also pay Ms X £300 for her distress, the uncertainty and her time and trouble in bringing the complaint.

And the council will reimburse Ms X £1,000 towards her out of pocket expenses in providing leisure and educational activities for the period of over nine months while her child was without any education.



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