A Redbridge mum claims her son missed six months of education because the council withdrew his school place the day before he was due to start.

Redbridge Council was told last month to apologise to the boy’s mother, referred to only as Miss B to protect her identity, after an investigation by the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman.

The ombudsman found that Miss B’s son received a place at a Redbridge school in April 2019 but that, on September 4, she was told it had been withdrawn and not told about how to appeal.

The council explained it withdrew her son’s school place because an officer visited the address she provided in May and she was not living there. However, Miss B claims she told the council she had moved out temporarily due to major building works.

Miss B was eventually able to appeal the decision, allowing her son to start school in March 2020.

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The ombudsman wrote: “The evidence I have seen satisfies me the council delayed telling Miss B it had withdrawn the place for her child.

“I consider if the council had followed up with Miss B between May and August 2019 it would likely have identified the change of address and withdrawn the place at an earlier stage.

“I am (also) concerned about the delay telling Miss B about her right of appeal. There is no evidence the council told Miss B until November 2019.

“While I appreciate Miss B believes the council should not have withdrawn the place I have already advised this is not a matter the Ombudsman can comment on.”

The ombudsman did not find the council responsible for Miss B’s son missing six months of school, as she “could have pursued an alternative school for her son in the area she was living in”.

They also note that Miss B only put in an appeal in January 2020, despite being told about the appeal process in November.

Redbridge Council has been asked to apologise to Miss B for the delay in telling her how to appeal and to “remind officers… of the need to follow the school admissions code”.

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