Peterborough council to pay £11.5k compensation to family of child with special educational needs

Compensation of £11,500 will be paid by Peterborough City Council to the family of a child with special educational needs

Wednesday, 26th June 2019, 5:09 pm
Peterborough Town Hall EMN-141126-162509009

The authority was rapped by the Local Government Ombudsman (LGO) due to the child not being given an education placement for a “significant” period of time, and the slow response to a parent’s later complaint.

The family, who complained to the ombudsman, were originally allocated a place for their child in a mainstream school, but the school refused admission as it could not meet the child’s needs.

The council did not identify the youngster as missing from education after it said it had not received communication from the family about needing to find a school place.

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A report released by the authority stated: “Had the child been identified as missing, an appropriate alternative placement would have been delivered, and the LGO felt that as a result there was injustice to the child.”

A parent of the child later complained to the council.

The report added: “The LGO also felt that the council had not dealt a with a parental complaint over this situation in a timely manner. As a result, the LGO has decided that compensation would be payable over the education lost to the child, but also the anxiety this has caused the family.

“The LGO also recognised in this compensation the financial difficulty faced by the parent and the time and trouble in pursuing the matter.”

Further information about the child has not been released to protect their anonymity.

Jonathan Lewis, director for education at the council, said: “We did not immediately identify the child as being missing from school as we had no contact from the parent or the school to alert us to this.

“However, following this case, we accepted we needed to review our processes around children missing from education, and we have since made significant improvements, including increasing the team’s capacity.”

Provision for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) has been in the news recently after national protests, including one held in Peterborough.

Campaigners have argued that there have been cuts to school and college funding and that more disabled children have been “illegally excluded”.