Boy went without school for a year

Sarah HallA 'misunderstanding' meant a Norfolk pupil with special educational needs went without any schooling for almost an entire year, it has emerged.Sarah Hall

A 'misunderstanding' meant a Norfolk pupil with special educational needs went without any schooling for almost an entire year, it has emerged.

The family of the pupil was paid �2,000 in compensation by Norfolk County Council after the case was taken to the local government watchdog.

And another family was paid �500 because their child, who was supposed to receive speech and language therapy, did not do so for six months.

The blunders were revealed in the annual report for into Norfolk County Council by the Local Government Ombudsman, which covers the period 2008/9.

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The number of complaints about the county council to the ombudsman, which looks at and investigates complaints about local councils, was up from 46 to 48, although changes in the way the system operates means the figures are not directly comparable.

Many were deemed by the watchdog to be premature and advice was given in other cases, usually to complain directly to the council rather than the watchdog.

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A spokesman for Norfolk County Council said: 'In the first case, a child was permanently excluded from school. The child's parents rejected a suggestion of a place at one of our Pupil Referral Unit and unfortunately there was then a misunderstanding about an offer to have the child home educated.

'We apologised to the parents for the confusion caused and the child has been in education since September 2007. We have paid �2,000 as some redress for what happened and apologised for what happened.

'In the second case, a child who was due to receive speech and language therapy did not do so for six months during 2007 while a member of NHS staff was on long term sick and then not replaced for an extended period.

'We also apologised in this instance for what happened and we know that by September 2008 service had resumed successfully.'

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