EXCLUSIVE: Mum-of-two Laura Jordan, 36, from Redditch, Worcs, begged her local council not to send her son to another mainstream school after his expulsion as she believes he has special educational needs
Image: Mark Radford)
A council has ruled out sending a boy expelled at the age of four to a mainstream school.
Mum Laura Jordan, 36, from Redditch, Worcs, said her son Zac would not cope in another mainstream school as she believes he has special educational needs.
The Mirror previously reported on how Zac had spent more than five months at home following his expulsion, leaving him scared to go outside.
Worcestershire County Council now has less than a month to find Laura’s son a new school before pupils return from the Easter break on April 25.
The local authority previously wanted to put Zac, who recently turned five, into a mainstream school however the council has now performed a U-turn.
Mum-of-two Laura told The Mirror: “Zac had an autism assessment on March 21 and on the back of that the local authority said Zac won’t be ready for mainstream school yet.
“I believe he will now be able to go to a special school. I’ve got a meeting with the local authority on Tuesday, hopefully they will have a school for him by then.
“I feel that Zac’s needs have now finally been recognised.
“As a result of the article and the pressure I’m putting on them I hope he will be back in school by April 25.
“I said to the local authority that we are running out of time as the kids break up next week.
“He should already have a place in a school. Progress is definitely being made but I feel it’s purely because he’s reached five years old now and the local authority have to prove him with somewhere.”
Zac was booted out of Holly Hill Church School, in Rubery, Worcs, in October after a number of behavior problems, including attacks on other pupils and staff.
Soon afterwards Laura discovered that councils are not required to get kids back into school if they are expelled before their fifth birthday.
The mum previously said: “Zac started reception in September and within five weeks he had been permanently excluded.
“Ever since he’s been out of school as he was only four and the compulsory school age is five. It’s very rare for this to happen to a child of his age.
“It’s pure discrimination, the whole thing. I don’t think it’s morally right he’s out of school when people the same age as him are able to go to school.
“He’s been left behind because he’s been excluded and offered no alternative schooling provision.
“He’s missed out on his education. This is going to affect him for the rest of his life.”
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The mum does not deny that her son has issues, accepting that he attacked other children and staff at his school.
However, she believes he has autism, ADHD and speech and language problems, which make certain situations ‘overwhelming’ for him.
Laura previously said: “He was excluded because he’s got special educational needs and the school was not able to meet his needs. They couldn’t keep him and others safe.
“But they could’ve done other things before resorting to excluding him. This would’ve involved a possible managed move or alternative provision.
“Ultimately, they didn’t give him a chance or time to adjust to his environment or the new staff in his classroom.”
She added that the council had requested two special needs schools for Zac, however both said they were full.
The mum previously said Zac would have no choice but to attend a mainstream school if the council placed him in one, however she fears he would simply be expelled again.
Laura said The Mirror’s article had helped raise awareness about the struggling parents face when fighting for educational support for children with special needs.
She thinks the UK’s compulsory school age should be lowered to four years old so children cannot be expelled and left at home once they have started education.
A Department for Education spokesperson previously said: “Suspensions and permanent exclusions should only be used as a last resort, but we back headteachers to suspend or exclude pupils where it is necessary and helps maintain calm classrooms.
“We are consulting on changes to behavior and exclusions guidance to make sure this is used in a fair way, and the cross-government SEND Review will further consult on how children with special educational needs and disabilities are supported by the system, including in alternative provision.”
Local authorities are responsible for arranging full-time education for excluded pupils once they reach compulsory school age.
Worcestershire County Council’s cabinet member for education Marcus Hart previously said: “Parent carers have a statutory right to ask for a particular educational setting and support for their child but it can at times be challenging to find the right place that has capacity and can meet a child’s individual needs.
“The law all children to start full-time education by the beginning of the term requires following their fifth birthday and we are working with Ms Jordan to find a suitable and appropriate school that meets Zac’s assessed needs, ready for him to start school in April .
“We are sorry that we have been unable to source an educational provision for Zac that has been able to meet his needs for this period and we acknowledge this is unacceptable for Zac, indeed for any child.
“We are continuing to work alongside Ms Jordan and relevant healthcare providers and partners to ensure that we have a high quality, lawful Educational Health and Care Plan in place for Zac, that will help to ensure he receives the tailored help and support he needs at all stages of his educational journey.”