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Mother of autistic boy blames Medway Council after his removal from Bligh school in Strood

By Katie May Nelson

A mother battling to get her son a specialist education has hit out at a council.

Cleggan Wynne, seven, has autism and sensory processing disorder.

His mum Danielle says she has been forced to remove him from Bligh Infant and Junior School, Strood.

Danielle Wynne with Cleggan and Lucy
Danielle Wynne with Cleggan and Lucy

This is due to fears surrounding his safety, including incidents of him trying to abscond.

Mrs Wynne and the school agreed Cleggan required more intensive care than what they were able to supply.

In December, an Education Health and Care Plan was applied for.

This was so the youngster could potentially get place at a Special Educational Needs school.

However, in February the council turned this application down, saying it didn't believe Cleggan qualified.

Mrs Wynne, of Fleet Road, Rochester, was told it was felt his needs were being met at his current school.

Bligh Infant School, Strood. Picture: Steve Crispe
Bligh Infant School, Strood. Picture: Steve Crispe

Bligh school also applied for top-up funding in order to get more assistance for the the boy's needs but this was also declined.

Mrs Wynne does not blame the school for having to remove Cleggan from class.

While there he was on a high level of support, but she was concerned he had not made enough progress.

The school assessed he was still working at early years foundation level.

She also claims two assessment documents which she gave the council were reported as being lost.

This in her opinion may have impacted on the decision not to provide an an education care plan.

She said: "When the school took him on, they were completely aware of the situation, and it became very apparent very quickly that he needed extra support.

"In the end, Cleggan became unsafe at school. Because we had been declined for the top-up funding and for the education care plan, Cleggan's safety was being compromised."

Medway Council has responded to the concerns raised.

"He needs to be in a place of education where he can learn" - Mrs Wynne

Its deputy director of children and adults services, Ann Domeney, said: "An education care plan is only required when the support a child needs can only be secured by having a plan in place.

"When deciding if a plan is needed, we carefully consider all of the advice and information we receive about the child which includes speaking with parents, the child’s school and medical professionals."

Mrs Wynne added: "They are just not following their own guidelines and their own law.

"The system at the moment is diabolical and I know we're not the only family going through this.

"We only want the best for our children, he needs the best. He needs to be in a place of education where he can learn.

"I don't expect the world to move for him, all I expect that he's got a place to learn, somewhere that's safe and can support him, and where he feels safe."

Following the council's decision, Mrs Wynne sought advice from the National Autistic Society.

Cleggan is no longer at Bligh. Picture: Steve Crispe
Cleggan is no longer at Bligh. Picture: Steve Crispe

She says its view was Medway Council was not adhering to legislation set out in the Children and Families Act 2014.

This states local authorities must secure an education care plan needs assessment for a child or young person if it is of the opinion the child has or may have special educational needs.

The autistic society recommended Cleggan was suitable for an education care plan.

Ms Wynne has began looking into special needs schools for her son, but without an education care plan he will not be able to gain a place at one.

Mrs Wynne, also mum to Oliver, nine, and Lucy, two, added: "He's got the ability to do well if he's given the right support and in the right setting.

"Why can't the funding be given? Why is it we have been declined every single step of the way, when it's clear from the evidence I have to show there is a clear need?"

She is taking the decision from the council to a tribunal which is due to take place at the beginning of September.

News from our universities, local primary and secondary schools including Ofsted inspections and league tables can be found here.

Read more: All the latest news from Medway

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