William Eichler 07 July 2022

Children are being ‘robbed of their potential’, Ombudsman warns

Children are being ‘robbed of their potential’, Ombudsman warns  image
Image: Ben Molyneux/Shutterstock.com.

Children are missing out on vital education because some councils are failing to provide them with schooling alternatives, according to a new report.

If children cannot attend school, councils have a legal duty to assess the situation and decide if they must provide them with alternative education.

However, according to a new report from the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman, in nearly 90% of the complaints investigated, the Ombudsman finds something went wrong in how this should happen.

Many of the cases investigated involve children with complex special educational needs, but the Ombudsman is also seeing increasing numbers of children unable to attend school because of social anxiety or because there are no school places available.

Michael King, Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman, said: ‘Time and again we see children being robbed of their potential to thrive because councils have not acted properly.

‘We know getting an alternative education set up as soon as possible is crucial to ensure children do not fall behind their peers, but we see examples of councils trying to and pass the buck, saying it is the school’s responsibility.

‘Parents need to know this isn’t right. Councils have a legal obligation to properly consider what alternative education is provided when a child cannot attend school, and it must be suitable to the child – not a token gesture of the minimum hours. We would encourage parents raise their concerns with their council as soon as they can if this does not happen.’

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