A mum has received more than £3,000 from children’s services in Reading after failings led to her two boys missing out on months of schooling.

In Reading, children’s services are managed by a company called Brighter Futures for Children (BFfC) which is in charge of arranging state education in the borough.

Children with complex needs can have Education Health and Care (EHC) plans which lay out these needs and what arrangements should be made to meet them.

Both of the mum’s sons have EHC plans due to their complex needs.

One of her boys has autism, limited social interaction skills and pathological demand resistance which makes performing daily tasks difficult. He began struggling to attend school in October 2019.

The other boy has autism, dyspraxia and a history of anxiety around going to school.

Both boys went to the same ‘Alternative Provision’ school provider in September 2021.

Alternative Provision provides education where a child can learn outside of a mainstream school setting.

While the Alternative Provision worked for a time, it eventually broke down early in the 2021-22 academic year.

An investigation found that one of the boys had failed to receive money for his education for education that he could not access for six months of the school year.

The council’s children’s services did contact nine different schools to try and find one that could meet the boy’s needs, but none were able to.

Her other son missed out on teaching every Wednesday for an entire year.

That was because he was unable to access online learning due to his disability.

The mum issued two complaints to the council in 2022.

Eventually, the mum complained to the Local Government & Social Care Ombudsman (LGO) for mediation.

The LGO investigated her complaint, and found that the council’s children’s services failed to provide alternative education provision for her boys and remedy gaps in their education.

While the ombudsman acknowledged the council’s efforts in trying to find a school for one of the boys, they still concluded that the failure to find a school for the boy was a service failure.

Ultimately, the council and BFfC were found at fault over the alternative provision her children were receiving.

The council has agreed to pay £2,700 for the benefit of one of her boys, and £760 for her younger son, a total of £3,460.

It initially offered to pay a lower sum, but the investigation by the ombudsman meant that the council increased its payout offer.

A spokesperson for BFfC said: “We fully accept the findings of the Local Government & Social Care Ombudsman in this case.

“Brighter Futures for Children is also undertaking a review of the learning identified to improve our processes and the services we offer.”