Angry mum from South Tyneside says lack of provision for children with special educational needs has 'failed' her son
The mother of a 10-year-old boy says a lack of provision for children with special educational needs in South Tyneside has ‘failed’ her son.
Joshua Langley-Bell, of Langley Terrace, Jarrow has been out of school for two years waiting to be assigned a place at a specialist school in the area.
Joshua, who formerly attended Valley View primary school in Jarrow, has been diagnosed with complex needs including developmental language disorder (DLD), severe dyspraxia and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).
However, his mum Claire Langley, 45, said Joshua began experiencing severe anxiety and his mental health deteriorated to the point where he tried to take his own life.
She took Joshua out of school and, since January, he has been receiving two hours a day of medical home tuition.
Joshua has received an Education Care Plan but Claire says she has been told there is no provision at a school in the borough for another 12-18 months.
Instead, he has been offered a place more than seven miles away at Percy Hedley school in Forest Hall, until a local spot becomes available.
Last month health and council chiefs were ordered to improve services for children with special education needs and disabilities (SEND) in the borough after a joint Ofsted and Care Quality Commission inspection found ‘significant areas of weakness’.
The local authority says it has plans to increase resources and to work with families to improve provision for children with SEND in the borough.
Claire said: “Joshua was so frustrated. He was running away from home and he became violent towards me and himself.
“He tried to put his head through a glass french window and tried to throw himself down the stairs.
“I had to watch my son be placed on suicide watch.”
“Joshua has lost about 3-4 years of education now, he should be in Year 6.
“He’s desperate for a friend, he’s lonely and isolated. His OCD is getting worse because he’s so stressed...it’s just not healthy for him.
“He needs to be learning life skills and I need to know he’s in a place where he’s going to be okay. I don’t think there’s ever going to be any return if they don’t find a place for him. He’s got no future.”
Claire has not taken up the offer of a place for Joshua at Forest Hall, saying: “He’s been in floods of tears because he’s going to be out of the borough.
“It doesn’t make any sense. He needs to be making friends within the community and he needs to have one slow, stable transition back into school.”
“Children like Joshua they are just slipping through the net. He has been failed massively.”
A South Tyneside Council spokesperson said: "Josh has remained on the roll with a local primary school whilst receiving medical home tuition as requested by the parent.
"We are aware that the family have requested a place at a special school in South Tyneside and is on a waiting list until a place becomes available. The family has been offered a place outside of the borough but have refused this.
"We have plans to increase resources across the partnership to support children and young people with SEND. Planning is already underway to involve South Tyneside’s families in developing the local offer and access to services and plans are being brought forward to increase provision for children with social, emotional and mental health needs.
"We remain committed to giving every child the best start in life and will work with our partners to improve provision and outcomes for children and young people within the local area.”