The boy who ‘slipped through the system’

Jamie Lynch

Jamie Lynch

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Meet Jamie Lynch – the 14 stone autistic 12-year-old who has apparently slipped through the net of the city’s entire education system.

MK council’s refusal to pay for special needs transport means Jamie has spent just EIGHT days at school since September last year.

Instead the potentially-bright youngster has been stuck in his bedroom, playing his X Box and indulging his favourite obsession... eating.

“All he thinks about is food. I don’t know what to do,” said his mum Bernie, who is disabled and in a wheelchair.

“All he wants is to go to school. But he’s not safe to catch a bus and I simply can’t get him there.”

This week matters came to a head when Bernie received a letter threatening prosecution for not sending her son to school.

She could face a fine of up to £2,500 or even a prison sentence of up to three months,

Jamie was diagnosed with an autistic spectrum disorder several years ago. He struggles to mix with peers, has violent outbursts and cannot cope with large groups of people.

The Beanhill youngster was excluded from junior school and spent a successful year at Bletchley’s pupil referral unit.

But surprisingly he was never with an official education health and care plan (EHCP).

When he reached 11, his mum was advised to send him to Stantonbury Campus to avoid problems with former peers at his catchment school, MK Academy.

“For the first year it was fine. The council paid for a taxi to take get him there and back, and the campus did a good job,” said Bernie.

But when the second year began, the council suddenly withdrew the taxi, declaring the school ‘out of catchment’.

For eight days caring Stantonbury Campus heads paid the cab themselves. But with no special needs statement to claim the cash back, they could not afford to continue.

Campus co principal Ben Corbett said staff had visited Jamie and tried to find ways to get him back to school.

Staff hoped to help him by beginning an EHCP assessment – but he has to be in school for this to take place.

An MK Council spokesman said the taxi was always designed to be a temporary arrangement for the first year.

“There is a school closer to home and this is another option for the family to consider,” he said.

The council, which has offered Jamie a free bus pass, did not explain why Jamie had never been statemented.

Bernie said: “My son has just slipped through the net of the education service. He needs help and he needs it as soon as possible.”