Oxfordshire County Council accused of disrupting disabled boy’s schooling

A MILITARY wife has sued Oxfordshire County Council, accusing the agency of disrupting her disabled son’s education.

Kira Lothian has claimed the council was too late to provide information to her new agency when they moved from Abingdon to Staffordshire in July.

She said the delays resulted in her youngest son Gabriell being out of school, affecting his mental health.

The 14-year-old has profound complex needs, including autism, and is tube-fed.

She said: “We emailed the Oxfordshire Special Educational Needs and Disabilities team and our officer and also emailed our preferred choice to the Staffordshire SEND team so everyone was aware of the move dates and Gabriell’s needs.

“When you move with an education and health plan [for a disabled child], the expectation is that the plan will move too, but that didn’t happen to us.

“Due to the delay in his plan arriving in Staffordshire, schools were not consulted until it reopened in September.

“There are no longer any schools on site that can meet his needs.

“Our son has to be in school, he lives from routine and really enjoys school.

“Dropping out of school is now affecting his mental health as well.”

Oxfordshire County Council said all measures were completed within a “necessary timeframe”.

Ms. Lothian expressed her frustration at the wider problem related to children with special needs who have difficulty attending a school that meets their needs.

She said: “There are many other disabled children who are currently leaving school through no fault of their own.

“Unfortunately, this is not uncommon for children with disabilities, and something has to change – they have a right to an education.

“If we kept our children out of school we would be fined more than £ 60.

“It’s really sad that other people are going through this situation.”

A district council spokesman confirmed that a complaint had been received about Ms. Lothian’s case.

The spokesman said: “Following the investigation, this complaint was not upheld as all necessary actions were completed within the legal deadlines.”

The Lothian family are pursuing legal action with an online fundraiser to support their efforts.

Ms. Lothian said, “Right now the fundraiser is to support us, but the more people contact us, the more we try to open it up.

“The army was really good for us and really supported us.”

For GoFundMe, visit: gofundme.com/f/get-gabe-back-to-school.

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