The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman said the boy was without suitable education for several terms

At a glance

  • Leeds City Council has been told to pay £7,200 in compensation after inspectors said it had "lost control" of the boy's education

  • A report by the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman said the pupil had gone without suitable education for four terms

  • The council has apologised to the boy's family

  • The authority said it was dealing with a "significant increase" in the number of children with special educational needs and disabilities

  • Published
    13 June 2023

A family has been awarded more than £7,000 in compensation after it was ruled Leeds City Council had "lost control" of their son's education.

The boy, who has autism, ADHD and mental health issues, was withdrawn from mainstream learning in 2019 and went without suitable education for four terms, a report by the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman found

The review highlighted a number of failings in the authority's handling of the case.

The council has since apologised and said it was handling a huge increase in demand for help for special needs children.

The report, external detailed how the pupil's parents wanted him to attend a specialist school for children with complex needs in Richmond Hill, however there were no spaces available until September 2023.

Although places at similar schools elsewhere in the city were offered to the family these were turned down due to transport issues, it said.

The report stated that during this period the council initially refused to provide the child with a home tutor, on the grounds that they believed a "suitable" school place had been offered.

Despite eventually agreeing to fund a home tutor through the child's former school, according to the report, the council "did not follow through with its plans", and by July 2022, seven months later, support and funding were still not in place.

The report added, "something had clearly gone wrong [for which] the council was responsible and is at fault".

Leeds City Council has now apologised for the delay in reviewing the child's education health and care plan (EHCP), and said it had experienced a huge rise in requests for EHCPs since the pandemic.

The Ombudsman, who referred to the boy anonymously as 'B' throughout the report said: "In conclusion, the Council appears to have ‘lost control’ of B’s education between May 2021 when it failed to review and amend his ECH Plan and December 2022 when it agreed to consider home tutoring again".

The Ombudsman recommended the council pay the family £7,200 in compensation to "recognise the impact on the family of the missed opportunity to engage B in learning".

In response, a spokesperson for the council said: “Leeds, like many local authorities, has experienced a significant increase in the number of children with special educational needs and disabilities.

“Whilst we do not comment on individual cases, the council accepts the findings in the Ombudsman report and has apologised to the family.

“This is a complex case which the council has attempted to resolve in a number of ways. The council is continuing to work with the family and remains firmly committed to ensuring that all children living in Leeds have access to good quality and appropriate education.”


From BBC




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