Hillingdon Council delayed in finding new place for boy out of school
Archived press release
Date Published: 17/04/12
London Borough of Hillingdon delayed in finding a school place for a boy who was out of school finds Local Government Ombudsman, Dr Jane Martin.
In her report, issued today, she finds the delay caused the boy to lose almost two-and-a-half terms of education, which was a very significant disadvantage. She says “I believe this period could have been substantially reduced if the Council had dealt with the matter properly.”
A 14-year-old boy’s mother complained about the way the Council dealt with her son’s education. She had been persuaded by his secondary school to remove him from its roll, leaving him without a school place. She applied to other schools but was unsuccessful.
The Local Government Ombudsman’s view of council responsibilities in these circumstances is set out in the recent focus report Out of school, out of mind? How councils can do more to give children out of school a good education. All local authorities must have a ‘Fair Access Protocol’ to ensure that children who live in the authority area are offered a place at a suitable school as quickly as possible, and that all schools in the area admit their fair share of children with challenging behaviour. All schools and academies must participate in the protocol. Local authorities must ensure that all children who arrive outside the normal admission round and who may have difficulty securing a school place are covered by the protocol.
The Council registered the case on its computer system, but the procedures for children out of school, including the ‘Fair Access Protocol’, were not applied properly. As a result, the boy was left without either a school place or other educational provision for nearly two and a half school terms.
The Ombudsman finds maladministration causing injustice, and recommends the Council to:
- review its procedures, including the Fair Access Protocol, to ensure that children without a school place are identified and found a school place or other suitable provision as soon as possible, and
- pay the boy’s mother £2,500 to be used for his educational benefit.
The school’s action in removing the boy from its roll is not within the Ombudsman’s jurisdiction, and forms no part of the investigation.
Report ref no 11 007 324