A mum who struggled to get an education for her son has received more than £4,000 after it was found Bracknell Forest Council mismanaged her case.

The compensation has been given after the boy was left without a suitable education for six months, and the council failed to provide a suitable education plan for 10 months.

The failings were identified in how the boy’s Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan was executed. These plans are written for children who’s education needs exceed what can be provided in mainstream education.

Ultimately, Bracknell Forest Council was found to have mismanaged the boy’s case, and has therefore agreed to pay a total of £4,200 to the family.

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The large payment to the family has come about after the mum made a complaint to the Local Government Ombudsman (LGO).

The lion share of the amount -£3,300- will be given to fund the boy’s future education. This money will be paid in £600 monthly instalments.

The council has also agreed to pay £700 in compensation to recognise the injustice in delaying the boy’s EHC plan, and a further £200 in compensation in recognition of the time and trouble it had taken the mum to pursue her complaint.

Problems started for the family in August 2019, when the mum was homeschooling her son. She asked Bracknell Forest Council to conducted an EHC needs assessment for her son, which the council said it would complete by the end of September 2019.

The first delay came in October, when she asked for an assessment from a Speech and Language Therapist (SALT) and an Occupational Therapist (OT). Although the council made referrals, the NHS replied that  it could not process them because the boy was homeschooled.

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In January 2020, the mum told the council she could no longer homeschool her son. She asked the council to provide alternative education, asking for a tutor as she believed her son would refuse temporary schooling outside of the home. That month, the council consulted two schools, School A and B, in an effort to try and organise the boy’s education.

The council said School A did not respond to the consultation, but it was aware the school was at capacity. In February 2020, the mum provided the Council with a private SALT report.

In March 2020, the council consulted another school, school C, which asked to observe the boy in their school setting. A month later, the mum confirmed she wanted the Council to name School B in her son’s EHC plan. She also asked the Council to again provide a tutor for her son prior to school starting in September.

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In June 2020, the Council issued the boy’s final EHC plan, which confirmed that he would be staring at school B  in September 2020. At the end of June 2020, the Council arranged for the boy to receive home tuition.

It took the council 10 months to issue the boy’s EHC plan, despite saying that the EHC plan would be completed in September 2019.

In a verdict, the LGO said: “I find fault with the Council for the delay in issuing the final EHC plan and for failing to provide the boy with suitable education between January 2020 and June 2020. The Council has agreed to my recommendations.”

Chris Hilliard, Assistant Director of Education and Learning at Bracknell Forest Council said: “As part of the LGO investigation, the council admitted its fault within this case and suggested a resolution, which the Local Government & Social Care Ombudsman (LGSO) subsequently recommended. The recommendations and learnings from the review have now been implemented and we can confirm the payments recommended in the review have been made.”