A special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) parent who says her children lost out on nine months of school time was compensated with more than £10,000 by Suffolk County Council, according to an ombudsman report.

The parent later reported the loss to the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman, which ended the investigation on February 13.

The mother, referred to as Mrs X in the report, complained that Suffolk County Council failed to provide suitable provisions set out in her two children’s Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs) between late 2019 and September 2022.

EHCPs are set up to describe a child's needs and the health and social care provision that is needed to meet them.

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She said her two children missed out on education they were entitled to, which impacted their mental health, and caused her distress along with financial burden.

Both children had places at a specialist school for young people with SEND, but their mother said the children lost provision set out in their EHCPs and had safeguarding concerns at the school, which she raised many times with the council.

In April 2021, Mrs X made a formal complaint to the council, which set up an annual review meeting in July 2021, and in September that year amended the plans and named the same school their mother had concerns about.

In mid-January, Mrs X withdrew her children from the school, and the council arranged for them to attend a second specialist school in September 2022.

The parent made a formal complaint to the council in April 2023 about her children’s lost education at the first school.

The council responded to acknowledge that both her children did not attend the school between September 2021 and July 2022 and alternative provision was not provided.

Suffolk County Council apologised and offered payment of £125 per week for the 39 academic weeks during that time period – £4,875 for each child – along with a symbolic payment of £500 for the parent’s “time and trouble” - totalling £10,250.

The organisation did not uphold the complaint, saying it cannot lawfully investigate cases that have been appealed to tribunal, and the mother was offered an “appropriate remedy for the injustice caused” from the council.

The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman investigates complaints about “maladministration” and “service failure”.

A damaging Ofsted report in January into Suffolk's services for children with SEND criticised "widespread" and "systemic" failings in the local area partnership.