A MUM has been awarded compensation after her son with special needs missed out on two years of schooling and has no GCSEs.
Suffolk County Council (SCC) has been ordered by the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman to pay Carrie Cook £2,350 and apologise after failing to educate her son who has mental health problems and Asperger’s.
Ms Cook, 42, from Martlesham, told the East Anglian Daily Times: “I think it should have been more.
“Without being greedy – he was out of school for two years and didn’t get any GCSEs so now he’s got the extra pressure of doing that alongside his course.
“The money is going to buy my son a laptop, a decent laptop he can use especially for his English.
“And the rest of it we’re going to put towards a nice holiday because it’s been a stressful time.”
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The money covers the period from December 2021 to July 2022.
In Ms Cook’s complaint she claimed the council had failed to provide full-time education from March 2020 and delayed reassessing his education health and care plan (EHCP).
However, the Ombudsman ruled there was no fault until January 2022.
Previously, Ms Cook had said her son was absent from school between March 2020 and two weeks ago, when he started at college where he is said to be doing well.
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While he was absent, due to his mental health issues, he only received four hours a week of online tuition in maths and English.
He left high school with no GCSEs and is now having to study for those qualifications alongside his college curriculum.
During a review of his EHCP the council contacted two specialist schools but both were full and no places were available.
The SCC also came under criticism for taking 26 weeks to complete his EHCP when the legal limit is 20.
The council has a month to pay the compensation, write a letter of apology to Ms Cook, and send a reminder to officials that part-time education packages should be kept under review.
The Ombudsman ruled that the Covid pandemic during some of that period meant his education was no worse than his peers’, and through some of the rest a limited timetable had been agreed by the family, from the period from December 2021 onwards the student should have received more schooling than the council provided.
A spokesman for Suffolk County Council said: “We accept the Ombudsman’s view that, in this case, there was a six-week delay in completing the reassessment process for an EHCP and that in the first half of this year, additional educational provision – on top of that already being provided – could, and should, have been offered.
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“The family will receive a full apology and we will of course take steps to prevent this happening again.”
In 2021, 14 families in Suffolk with special educational needs and disabilities children received a total of more than £32,000 in compensation, according to the news outlet.