The London Borough of Richmond failed a boy who had been educated at home, the Local Government Ombudsman (LGO) has ruled.
The teenage boy received home schooling after he developed behavioural issues following family problems. After a year, however, his mother asked the council to find him a place at school again, but they were slow to respond.
The teen was assessed by the Borough’s education and social services teams but poor communication meant the mother was sent forms relating to further home education. During further meetings, council officials discussed college places and a number of possible courses he might attend, but these were not properly communicated to the mother or acted upon.
As a result the boy missed two whole terms as well as his GSCEs so he was unable to attend college in any event, the LGO found. There was also no evidence to support the council’s claim that the mother had rejected a number of school places which were offered.
Ombudsman Jane Martin said:
“When councils have concerns about a child’s education or, as in this case, are alerted to a family who no longer wish to home school, they have a duty to ensure those educational needs are met.”
“In Richmond, we found the departments involved did not communicate properly with each other or the boy’s mother. They agreed to carry out actions to improve the boy’s situation but didn’t take action on them.”
The LGO suggested a payment of £3,650 in compensation to help with the boy’s education, and the Borough has agreed to do so.