Desperate Tring mum's appeal for help as son has been out of education for five months

Hertfordshire County Council says it is making new investments to include children with special educational needs into schools
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The desperate mother of a seven-year-old says that her son has been out of education for nearly five months because Hertfordshire County Council has not helped him to find an appropriate school.

Up until September of last year, Alfred Cannone from Tring had been enjoying his time at Dundale Primary School, being helped daily by his teaching assistant. But the drastic change from year two to year three made things difficult for Alfred.

His mum, Lisa, said: “He had a new teacher a new building, a new classroom, a new teaching assistant, it just completely blew his mind.”

Smiling Alfred with his football trophySmiling Alfred with his football trophy
Smiling Alfred with his football trophy

After a series of incidents, Lisa decided to take Alfred out of school as he could not access education there. She said: “It’s not specialist, the teachers aren't specialist teachers. They can't deal with ADHD and autism. It's turning into behavioural where he's trying to run away. During this time, he has been excluded three or four times.”

Dundale Primary School agreed with Lisa, saying: “Despite Dundale’s very best endeavours, we do not have the specialist environment or staff to be able to meet Alfred’s needs.”

A statement from his former school read: “Alfred moved from Year 2 to Year 3 in September 2022 and naturally the academic work increases in both volume and difficulty as children progress through the school. As a school, we support children with a range of barriers to learning and have a strong set of staff to support.

“However, sometimes, despite significant support and adaptations, as part of the process of reviewing Educational Health Care Plans (EHCPs), it is felt that a child’s needs cannot be met in a mainstream setting.”

The school says that is continuing to liaise with Hertfordshire County Council and his family to help him.

A HCC spokesperson said: “While we can’t comment on individual cases, we are committed to making sure that young people and their families receive the support they need and deserve, and we work in partnership with young people, parents and schools to achieve that end.”

Being out of school has been detrimental to Alfred’s physical and mental well-being. He has put on weight as he is not as active during the day.

His mum explained: “He's bored out of his brain. The saddest thing is he thinks that he's not allowed to go to school because they don't want him, no other schools want him.”

Alfred’s family have spoken to numerous school but none can meet his needs.

HCC said that it is experiencing an unprecedented increase in requests for specialist provision, with a 47% increase in pupils with EHCPs since 2019.

It added: “Where families request specialist provision, we work in partnership with schools and settings to ensure the child’s needs are fully understood so that the decision to move a child from a mainstream school is based on full and robust evidence.”

Lisa also said that HCC tried to get Alfred a place at a school nearly two hours away in Essex, something that wasn’t appropriate given his epilepsy and heart condition.

She added: “I'm begging for somebody to help because there's having a huge mental impact on me because I don't have any respite at all.”