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30 Jan 2024, 12:58 pm

Autistic boy out of school for two years after council ‘pulls funding support’

Quote:
An autistic boy has been without formal school education for more than two years after his parents claimed the local authority “pulled funding” for a new school placement.

Reuben Rose, 12, from West Wickham, Kent, has autism and ADHD. He has been out of mainstream school since December 2021, after staff at his primary school said they could not “meet his needs”.

For the last two years, Reuben has been taught from home by teachers from outreach teams.

Reuben’s mother, Debra Rose, 51, said: “The sad thing is that everyone who works with my son says he needs to get outside the house with other children, but the council doesn’t listen to anyone.

“It’s putting a strain on his mental health – he needs to develop his social skills.

In 2021, Bromley council offered Reuben a placement in a day school. He was accepted by a secondary SEN school in Surrey, which starts from Year 7.

Reuben – who was in Year 6 at the time – would have had to wait another two terms for a placement, Mrs Rose said.

In December 2021, Reuben’s parents Debra and Jason Rose, 51, took Bromley council to court over the decision.

They won a Tribunal decision against the council which concluded there was “overwhelming evidence” that Reuben required a residential setting.

Reuben received a place at Wilds Lodges, a residential therapeutic school in Rutland, which works with children with social, emotional and mental health difficulties.

But in June 2023, the school ended the offer after Reuben’s six-month transition period “broke down”.

A spokeswoman from Bromley council said the “family asserted the child was unable to access the provision”. But, the school’s federation, Cavendish Education, said: “The school, for its part, received no funding of any kind from the local authority in support of Reuben’s placement.”

Since September 2023, Reuben has received 4.5 hours of education a week – 1.5 hours with a teacher and three hours with a teaching assistant under the council’s Education Other than at School (EOTAS) provision.

Mrs Rose said: “The teachers are fantastic but four hours a week is not enough.

After receiving written permission from the family to discuss the case, a Bromley spokeswoman said: “Bromley council found a local school to meet this young person’s needs, however, the family chose a residential school some distance away. Though named by the Tribunal, the placement was unsuccessful. The family asserted that the child was unable to access the provision.

“We have, therefore, put in place Alternative Provision under EOTAS. Again, this is not deemed suitable by the parent who would like a new provision which is not Ofsted registered. The council cannot engage with this until it is inspected.”


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Professionally Identified and joined WP August 26, 2013
DSM 5: Autism Spectrum Disorder, DSM IV: Aspergers Moderate Severity

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“My autism is not a superpower. It also isn’t some kind of god-forsaken, endless fountain of suffering inflicted on my family. It’s just part of who I am as a person”. - Sara Luterman