A CHILD with complex special educational needs from Weymouth has been unable to find a school placement with adequate provision - with his mother warned he could be waiting up to a year before one is found.

Children across the county are now returning to the classrooms following lockdown and summer holidays, but 11-year-old Jacob Porter – who has autism, hypotonia, hypermobility problems and suspected dyspraxia – has not been offered a place with the facilities his mother says is required to cater for his needs.

The Department for Education has confirmed to Jacob's mother that there is currently no school placement available and that he may have to wait as long as a year before receiving a suitable place.

Jacob is currently viewed as two years behind his peers academically, while occupational therapy assessments have categorised him as young as three-years-old.

Jacob’s mother, Tracy Porter said she had tried on numerous occasions to get in contact with education bosses for further advice, but said she had not yet received an adequate response.

Miss Porter said: “It is incredibly frustrating, it has made me feel ill and I’m constantly worrying about it.

“I made six calls on one day alone.

“I’m now working nights so I can look after Jacob in the day and I don’t get home until 11 or 12 which has taken a toll on my mental health as well.

“Jacob is getting to an age now where he understands more and he knows he’s different to the other children. He often says to me, ‘I’m sorry I’m letting you down’ and I have to reassure him that it’s not his fault.”

Jacob was offered a place at one school, but Miss Porter said its SEN department had admitted he wouldn’t get the support he needs there.

She said: “The autism base at the school is designed to help children with mild Asperger’s and autism. Jacob needs one-to-one attention; he can’t dress himself, he’s unable to cross roads and is supervised around the clock.

“It’s evident mainstream schools can’t provide the attention that he needs. As he has got older he required more and more support.”

Councillor Andrew Parry, Dorset Council Portfolio Holder for Children, Education and Early Years, said: “While it wouldn’t be right to comment on individual cases, we are committed to making sure that we meet the needs of children in the Dorset Council area. "Our team work with families to seek to identify the most suitable placements for all young people with special educational needs or a disability. These may be in mainstream as well as specialist placements.”


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e: bradley.white@newsquest.co.uk

Twitter: @DorsetEchoBrad