Following a Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman finding that a child with special educational needs (SEND) had missed education for nearly two years, Dorset Council has made changes.
The child’s mother complained that her child, who has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and traits of Autism, had been experiencing high levels of stress and anxiety when they became unable to attend school. Between February 2020 and November 2021, the child was provided with very little suitable education, or support, apart from a brief period when they were provided with social activities.
The Ombudsman’s investigation found the council failed to provide the child with proper alternative education and social support for much of the period. The investigation also found fault with the way the council reviewed the child’s Education, Health and Care Plan. It also criticised the council’s communication with the child’s mother and the way it handled her complaints.
Cllr Andrew Parry, portfolio holder for Children, Education, Skills and Early Help, Dorset Council, said: “We want all Dorset’s children and young people to receive the best education and start in life, and are sorry we have failed to do this in this case.
“We have taken these matters seriously and have made a number of changes to our services so other families do not have to go through the same experience. We have also introduced additional improvements following our recent pilot Ofsted inspection and we will continue to proactively monitor our performance to address concerns raised by families.
“We have completed all the actions required by the Ombudsman and will update our Cabinet on each of these at its July meeting.”
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