Mother Says Her Son Hasn’t Been In School For Over A Year

Actress and TV presenter Danielle Mason talks about her 12-year-old son, who has autism and hasn’t been to school for more than a year. She says it’s because there isn’t enough money to help him with his special needs in school. She worries that he may never want to return to school because his confidence has been hurt.

Danielle lives in Bracknell, and her son, Rudy, should be in Year Eight. He’s had a tough time finding a new school in Berkshire after having trouble at his last school, The Brakenhale School, where he got kicked out 21 times.

Danielle, sister of EastEnders star Jessie Wallace, is a mom to Rudy and Delilah, aged 10. She shares them with her ex-partner, Tony Giles.

Speaking to the Daily Mail, the mother-of-two expressed that schools struggle to accommodate her son’s EHCP (Education, Health, and Care Plan) because of insufficient government funding. She mentioned that this week was the first time in a year her son received homework.

Additionally, she shared that her daughter Delilah, who also has an EHCP due to mental health issues, is currently in Year Six at primary school. However, Delilah has faced challenges securing a spot at several secondary schools.

“My little boy, who is diagnosed autistic, went up from junior school to senior school with no problem, he was excluded 21 times until the school agreed they would let him have a managed move,” she told the publication.

A managed move is a strategy used for children at risk of being permanently excluded from school. It’s considered when other attempts to improve the child’s behavior have not succeeded, and the school believes that a fresh start elsewhere might be beneficial.

According to the mother, her son faced potential exclusion for what she considered trivial reasons, such as wearing trainers instead of school shoes. Additionally, there were instances where her son became upset or “triggered” because the school couldn’t adequately address his needs.

“He would just be sat in his bedroom with no socializing and the school would have him off four days at a time until it got to the point where he had done no education in Year Seven. I got a managed move to another school, and they also said they don’t have the staff there to manage his needs,” she said.

“His EHCP plan came through and no mainstream school will take him as they do not have the staff to accommodate his needs due to a lack of funding.”

An Education, Health, and Care (EHC) plan is an official document that outlines a child’s special educational needs, the support they need, and their goals.

“They do not have the staff to accommodate his needs due to lack of funding. That’s all they say, they do not have the funding,” the mum added. “They say he can go a couple of hours a day to his old school, but they call me after an hour as his mood swings have heightened due to the lack of SEN [Special educational needs] teachers.”

However, Danielle also alleges that her local authority, Bracknell Forest Council, has stated that mainstream schools should be capable of accommodating Rudy.

“While these arguments are going on, my son has now not been in education for over a year,” she said. “My daughter has mental health problems and has an EHCP plan also.”

“Without even meeting us, her schools have refused her because she may have ADHD or autism and they say they cannot cope, even though she is a wonderful, well behaved little girl with a real talent for acting and dancing.”

Mason also raised concerns about the destination of school funding allocated for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), questioning its utilization.

“No education or support. I’m utterly disgusted. Having asked around, going to charities for support and watching other mothers on TikTok. I can see it’s a problem throughout the UK and in my local council. There are thousands of kids in the same situation that are roaming the streets because school will not have them and cannot be bothered to help these children.”

The mom-of-two added that her daughter, Delilah, is presently attending junior school. However, Delilah’s application was denied despite the announcement of the expected senior school placement last week. This rejection and refusal from a couple of other schools leave Delilah without a senior school to move up to.

The situation has been particularly tough on Delilah, as she has seen all her friends receive their school placements while she remains uncertain about her future school.

“Delilah’s junior school is baffled by the way the senior schools are behaving. She is such a lovely girl and they haven’t even met her, she an amazing dancer and actress, it’s heartbreaking,” she told the outlet.

She said that it has become akin to a full-time job trying to secure appropriate educational placements for her children’s needs.

“The council are continuing to fight for my children’s place at school. The council and mainstream schools are arguing between each other, meanwhile I have one child with no school, and my daughter moving up to senior school with no place.”

“Schools just do not have the staff to cope with any child that is a bit different, should it be autism, ADHD or mental health struggles. I constantly feel like it’s a full-time job, making phone calls and emailing all day long and getting nowhere.” 

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Sources: Daily Mail

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