Bracknell mum says autistic daughter has been 'written off' after no school place offered

Chloe-May helps to entertain her baby brother. Credit: ITV News Meridian

A mum from Bracknell feels her autistic daughter has been "written off" after she wasn't offered a school place.

Chloe-May White, 11, is waiting to hear back from Bracknell Forest Council about whether she can go to school to start her secondary education this term.

She is autistic, suffers from anxiety and OCD, and hasn't had a permanent place at school for over a year.

Her mum, Hannah Soane, says her daughter wants to go to school and needs the company of other children.

Hannah described the situation as 'heartbreaking'

Chloe-May left her mainstream school in year five - in June 2022 - as they were unable to meet her needs.

She had an eight week trial at a specialist school but wasn't offered a permanent place.

Now, Hannah is still waiting to hear if her daughter has a place for Year 7, but says she hasn't heard from the council since July.

Another mother from Bracknell who has managed to find places for her two autistic daughters said some parents feel that there's a lack of communication with the local authority.

Emma Hester said: "It's really difficult because I know all local authorities are struggling. I know there is a lack of funding from the government.

"There are some things that could be done that wouldn't have a cost attached to them - for example, communicating with parents, being open and transparent with parents, answering the phone, letting us know if a case worker has left."

In 2021, an Ofsted report into the provision of education for children with special educational needs and disabilities in Bracknell Forest found significant areas of weakness and the council set out a plan of action.

An Ofsted report found 'significant areas of weakness' in the provision of education for children with special educational needs in 2021. Credit: ITV News Meridian

In a statement Cllr Roy Bailey, executive member for children, young people and learning at Bracknell Forest Council, said: "Our current published plans highlight the work we are undertaking as a partnership to increase local provision. This includes the need for additional provision, which has resulted in the successful £1m bid for government funding to improve services for children and young people with SEND and a successful bid for funding to build a new autism spectrum disorder (ASD) school.

"The education and welfare of our children, young people and their families remains a priority for us and we are committed to making improvements as quickly as possible. Where some schools are unable to meet the needs of certain individual children and young people, the council will put in place education otherwise than at school (EOTAS) provision as a temporary arrangement.

"We understand that we can only provide answers if we fully engage and listen to parents, therefore we are working towards a more productive partnership and more robust communications."

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