Special needs boy left without a school after council blunder in Milton Keynes
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A 12-year-old boy with special needs has been left with no school to go to in Milton Keynes.
Archie Beaumont has a statement for autism and an ECHP (Education, Health and Care Plan) to address his needs in a mainstream school.
But he somehow slipped through the council’s system and officials failed to find him a school place for the beginning of term in September.
Following a Citizen investigation, MK City Council has apologised – but Archie is still spending his days at his Oldbrook home, playing computer games.
The very bright pupil, who gets bored if he is not challenged, was looking forward to starting in Year 7 at MK Academy on September 1 after moving to MK from another area to live with his father.
Single dad Ray went through the admission process and was told by the council that a place had been allocated at MK Academy.
He spent £350 on new school uniform so Archie would look smart on his first day. But he became concerned when he never received a starter pack from the school during the summer.
The day before Archie was die to start, Ray called the school – only to be told his son was not on their list.
Yet, at the time same, Ray received an email from council education officials confirming the placement.
A flurry of emails followed as Ray tried to get to the bottom of what had gone wrong. "I've sent a lot of emails and made multiple phone calls. The council now says there's been a mistake and Archie must wait until he's found a place at another school,” he said.
"I’ve contacted the local MP to be told nothing they could do except pass my concerns to MK Council.”
Due to his autism, Archie needs to know exactly what is happening, and he has been left upset, bored, confused and wondering why he can’t wear his new school uniform and go to MK Academy, said his dad.
The Citizen asked Milton Keynes City Council’s education department to investigate what had gone wrong.
It now appears that the council officials had made the placement without informing the school.
A council spokesman said: “When placing children with an EHCP into a new school, we need to consult with the school first. Because we were contacted for a space during the school holidays, when the school was closed, we should have been clear that we wouldn't be able to consult or communicate with the school until the new term.”
He added: “We gave the wrong advice, for which we're sorry. We're working to secure a suitable school place as soon as possible."
This week Ray was still waiting for news and has been told it could take some time to find a school.
I've done everything perfectly and in a timely manner...I don’t understand how this mistake could have been made,” he said.
Archie’s EHCP states he is a “very intelligent” boy who thrives on learning facts.
It adds: “Archie is a very emotional boy who struggles to manage and cope with his feelings on a day to day basis.”
Having no school to go to is now causing him significant distress, says his dad.