Fight for son’s school place ‘a nightmare’ – mum

Home Education Fight for son’s school place ‘a nightmare’ – mum
Fight for son’s school place ‘a nightmare’ – mum

BBC Sam and HarrisonBBC

Sam said the fight over her son Harrison’s schooling was taking its toll on her family

A mother has described trying to get her five-year-old son a specialist school place as a “living nightmare”.

Sam, from Chester, said the council had disagreed about her son Harrison’s needs and placed him in a mainstream school.

The 39-year-old said the “fight” to get him a special education needs and disability (SEND) place was “taking its toll” on the family.

Cheshire West and Chester Council said there was more demand for specialist places than availability.


Harrison’s mum, Sam, says he needs a specialist school

Ali, 35, from Great Sutton near Ellesmere Port, said she had managed to get her son a place, but that it had been a struggle.

She said she had had to “beg” and that there had been “no dignity to it”.

“[I was] begging the local authority to communicate with me to give me a sense of time frame to give me some help.

“We were in crisis as a family,” she said.

She added: “Fortunately, at the very last minute we got offered a place at the school that he needed.

“I can’t explain the relief.”


Ali said her family was in crisis before her son got a place “at the school he needed”

She and Sam helped form a group called Cheshire West and Chester SEND Accountability, which has staged protests and recently addressed a full council meeting.

They said they had received a flurry of messages on social media from parents who said they had had similar struggles.

Sam and Ali said they were determined to keep fighting for improvements together.

“It is a battle and it takes its toll on everything, so it’s nice to have some support with the other parents,” Sam said.

Cheshire West and Chester Council said: “The aim is to support all young people to access education in a school or setting that can meet their individual needs and within their local community wherever appropriate.”

But it said it was working in “incredibly challenging national circumstances” with “demand for special school places outnumbering the actual number of places available”.

It said as well as increased demands, costs had gone up “putting pressure on the system”.

The authority said it had created 50 more places in September and was planning additional capacity over the next three years.

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