Ombudsman hits out at Suffolk

SUFFOLK has been criticised by a watchdog after a boy with special needs missed a year of school because of failings by the authority.The teenager, who suffered from Tourette's Syndrome, had started attending a middle school in Suffolk in March 2006 but by May already had attendance problems.

SUFFOLK has been criticised by a watchdog after a boy with special needs missed a year of school because of failings by the authority.

The teenager, who suffered from Tourette's Syndrome, had started attending a middle school in Suffolk in March 2006 but by May already had attendance problems.

Tourette's Syndrome is characterised by frequent tics, either vocal or movement, and the schoolboy concerned displayed “head shaking, blinking, flinching, whole body spasms and inappropriate shouting out.”

His mother was unable to get him to attend the school regularly and moved him to a school in a neighbouring area but after a good start the situation went downhill.

A report by the Local Government Ombudsman outlined how the mother asked for an assessment of his special educational needs after the new school removed her son from its roll saying he had attended on a trial basis.

In October 2006 the mother said she would educate him at home - but later said she made the offer as she was advised it would stop her facing prosecution for not sending her son to school.

Most Read

During the dispute she suffered a nervous breakdown and had to take medication.

Now in year 11, he started at a special school in April this year but there is little chance of him taking GCSEs.

A report by the local Government Ombudsman found that Suffolk County Council failed to carry out a necessary assessment of the youngster and failed to provide him with appropriate education.

The report found “maladministration causing injustice” by Suffolk County Council which has agreed to a number of measures.

A Suffolk County Council spokesperson said: “Suffolk County Council is fully committed to providing the best services for all young people in the county. We will continue to work with young people and their families to improve services wherever possible.”