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City Council has ordered parents to pay £6,000 after their daughter failed to complete 18 months of schooling

A report by the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman said the special needs pupil stopped attending school in February 2022 but was not offered an alternative provision.

This is the third time this year that families of disabled children have had to pay four-figure compensation.

Leeds City Council is struggling with a huge backlog of Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs), which determine what support children with special needs should receive.

Leeds City Council has been ordered to pay £6,000 to parents whose daughter has been out of education for 18 months.

According to the Ombudsman’s report, the council “accepted that reintegration support or alternative education should be provided” for the complainant’s daughter, known as “Mrs. X”.

Ms. X’s daughter had been out of school for four terms and had not received any educational or special educational support during this time.

The council therefore asked Ms. X to pay £1,500 for each of the four terms to redress this injustice.

During the investigation the council also acknowledged that there had been delays in issuing her EHCP and offered to pay the family an additional £300 ‘in recognition of the distress caused’.

A council spokesperson said: ‘Leeds, like many local authorities, has seen a significant increase in the number of children with complex special educational needs and disabilities and an increase in education, health and care (EHC) programs.

While the council does not comment on individual cases, it has accepted the Ombudsman’s findings and apologized to families. The council is committed to ensuring that all children in Leeds receive a good and appropriate education’.

In June, it emerged that the council had to pay £7,000 to the family of a pupil with special needs after the Ombudsman ruled his education was “out of control”.

Last month a further £1,500 was paid to the family of a girl with complex needs who missed 18 months of school.

Paolo Sorbello

Paolo Sorbello is a journalist and researcher. He is a PhD candidate at the University of Glasgow, studying state-business relations in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Russia. He is also the Business News Editor of the weekly newspaper The Conway Bulletin.

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