Kent County Council apologises after twin boys with autism repeatedly restrained in special chairs

  • Video report from ITV News Meridian's Malcolm Shaw

It was when Annie and Mark Montague first saw the photos, that they realised how their twin sons Samuel and Jacob were being put into special restraint chairs at Five Acre Wood School in Maidstone.

The boys have severe autism.

Their father, Mark Montague, said: "We hadn't realised, previously, what these chairs were until we studied the photographs.

"That was when the horror set in about what had been going on all this time".

  • Mark Montague describes his fear when he realised what was happening

The Montagues took their boys out of the school in 2013 to teach them at home.

It's only now, nine years later, that Kent County Council has apologised to the family.

It said the school only used the chairs because they'd been prescribed for therapeutic purposes, not to control the twins' behaviour.

The chairs left bruising on the twins' chest. Credit: ITV News Meridian

The council told ITV News Meridian: "The use of these specialist chairs should always be agreed by a multi-disciplinary team in consultation with service users, their families and advocates, and recorded within an individual's care or education plan.

"Regrettably this did not happen in Samuel and Jacob's case. This was a breach of the school's policy and the DfES guidance".

The boys are now seventeen. 

Jacob has been receiving special therapy to help improve his physical, emotional and cognitive development. 

The boys' parents say their prospects have improved beyond measure since they left the special school.

  • Annie Montague says there is 'so much hope' for children with autism

Mother of the twins, Annie, said: "I spent years trusting the school about what their therapy... I trusted they were doing the right things about our boys.

"But now there's a whole new range of therapies that are cutting edge and there is so much hope for autistic kids now."

Now, Annie and Mark are campaigning for the law to be changed so restraint chairs aren't used on children like Samuel and Jacob.