Mum 'ecstatic' as SEND placement finally found for son with complex needs

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Jack Why, 10, had been left without suitable SEND provision since July 2021. - Credit: Kerry-Ann Why

A mum has described how she is 'ecstatic' as a SEND school placement has finally been found for her son after eight rejections.

Kerry-Ann Why, 45, lives in Lowestoft with her son James, 10, whose mental health deteriorated after being stuck at home since July 2021.

The family moved to Lowestoft in March 2020 and James was originally educated at Attic@TheLanding until July 2021 when the provider closed.

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James has a school placement at Acorn Park School in Banham. - Credit: Kerry-Ann Why

There was no promise from Suffolk County Council originally that SEND provision would be provided to James, despite him having complex needs including autism, ADHD, sensory processing disorder and learning difficulties.

But now a school place has been found at Acorn Park School in Banham, Norfolk with the final agreement due from Suffolk County Council early next week.

Ms Why said: "We are ecstatic.

"This is the perfect setting for James, is a long-term placement and meets his complex needs.

"However, like many families, we've had nothing but issues with SEND provision in Suffolk.

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"We've had to fight for this every step of the way."

According to the National Autistic Society's school report published in 2021, across the UK, three quarters of parents said their child's school place did not meet their child's needs, doubling since the previous education report was published in 2017.

Suffolk County Council admitted to letting children with special educational needs down after an independent report into its services published in September 2021.

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Pupils like James have been let down by Suffolk County Council. - Credit: Kerry-Ann Why

"Our only worry now is the council may not agree to the placement but if that is the case, we will fight.

"Since James found out he is going back to school his mood has shifted.

"He is really excited, has already looked around the school and is looking forward to the positive new start."

Ms Why added that any parents struggling with SEND provision should fight as hard as possible.

She said: "Join Campaign for Change - Suffolk SEND.

"We are a parent led organisation campaigning for change.

"Do not be afraid to contact your local ombudsman because it is a streamlined process.

"I will not stop fighting for other parents struggling.

"We hope 2022 will be our year, where James can get back to school and I can also start focussing on my future as well."