A mum of a child in the area is set to receive a payout of £3,500 after her child missed out on nine months of education.

The local government ombudsman (LGO) investigated a complaint by the mother that her child, who was out of school for emotional needs reasons, fell through the net.

Her child had been unable to attend the school in West Berkshire where they were on roll since 2019 due to emotional-based school avoidance.

A child or young person with special educational needs has an Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plan.

The mum had wanted her child to have an education outside of a school setting, which is officially known as an education otherwise than at school (EOTAS).

But when her child's EHC plan was conducted, West Berkshire Council's childrens services department named the school the child had attended up to 2019 to provide them with an education, rather than an EOTAS.

While she did not appeal against that the council's decision to name the school as her child's education provider rather than an EOTAS, she did complain that funding had not been put in in place for the school to provide a 'reintegration package' to help her child back into an education.

An investigation found that West Berkshire Council did not provide funding for the reintegration, which left her child with no mainstream education for over nine months. The complaints were investigated by the LGO on the mum's request.

The ombudsman agreed the council was at fault and there was a delay in the handling of a new EHC Plan which led to her child missing out on education. The ombudsman ruled that the integration procedure should have been funded in February 2023, but the funds were not mustered until December of that year.

There was also a failure in the council’s complaint handling and in keeping the Mum informed.

The council's childrens services department agreed  to apologise to the Mum and pay her £3,500 on behalf of her child for the period of lost education between February and December 2023.

This takes into account that the education would not have been full time in any event, but that the child has missed out on special educational provision and the opportunity to make progress towards starting formal exam preparation.

The council will also pay the Mum £300 for her distress, the uncertainty and her time and trouble in bringing the complaint.

And the council will reimburse Ms X £1,000 towards her out of pocket expenses in providing leisure and educational activities for the period of over nine months while her child was without any education.