National Ombudsmen
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Lincolnshire teen started college with no support

A Lincolnshire teenager’s college career has stalled because Lincolnshire County Council failed to provide him with adequate support, the Local Government Ombudsman has found.

The teenager, who has special educational needs, had been receiving 32.5 hours of special support a week when he was at school, but Lincolnshire County Council failed to demand his headteacher produce a transition plan for when the boy started college.

 And because the council itself failed to provide the boy’s new college with a Learning Difficulty Assessment before he started, the college was not prepared for the boy’s needs when he arrived. This lack of support meant that within his first term the boy’s placement at college broke down.

Dr Jane Martin, Local Government Ombudsman said: “Lincolnshire County Council maintains that transition planning is the responsibility of the school and not the council, but the law is clear: the council must manage the process. Local authorities must also produce a written report known as a Learning Difficulty Assessment for young people with special educational needs who are leaving school who want to go on to further education.

“Because the school and the authority failed to provide the college with this documentation, the young man is now in the unfair situation of having to repeat his first year at college.

“I hope this report serves as a reminder to other authorities of the importance of proper planning for young people with special needs to ensure their smooth transition into college life.”

The LGO has recommended that the council should review its practices so that it fulfils its statutory duty to ensure that children with special educational needs are provided with transition plans.

The council should also make arrangements to support the boy in further education or training if he chooses to remain at college. The council should also provide equipment or resources for his education to the value of £1,000.

 The council should also pay the boy’s mother £500 for the stress of having to make arrangements herself with the college to support her son following his transfer from school.

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