Mother of Five-Year-Old with Disabilities Pleads with Kent County Council for Urgent School Placement for Daughter

Mother of Five-Year-Old with Disabilities Pleads with Kent County Council for Urgent School Placement for Daughter

Mother of Five-Year-Old with Disabilities Urges Action from Kent County Council’s SEND Department

The mother of a five-year-old girl with severe physical disabilities is pleading with Kent County Council’s (KCC) Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) department to urgently secure her daughter a school placement.

Lauren Windget-Upsher, from Bean, has been trying for nearly two years to get her daughter, Isobel, enrolled in school. Isobel suffered a brain injury when she was two-and-a-half, which left her with a tracheostomy and requiring around-the-clock support.

Despite having an Education, Health, and Care plan (EHCP), which requires her school placement to be arranged through the SEND department, Isobel has yet to attend school. Her mother says there has been no progress or communication from the department.

According to Lauren, the delay in her daughter’s education is having negative effects on her behavior and mental stimulation. She says her daughter is becoming increasingly challenging at home and needs the socialization and education that a school environment would provide.

Lauren and her husband Colin have been advocating for their daughter, along with various professionals involved in her care, including those from Great Ormond Street Hospital, the ellenor hospice nurses, and the Integrated Care Board (ICB). However, they have been met with a lack of communication and progress from the SEND department.

The family has been trying to get Isobel enrolled at Bean Primary School, which is close to their home, but have been met with roadblocks. When the specialist Valence School in Westerham was suggested as a potential placement, the family visited and decided it would be a good fit for Isobel. However, when the family was told they would need to arrange their own transportation, they were unable to do so, as Lauren is unable to drive.

The family also explored home-schooling options, but Lauren says Isobel does not want to be taught by her mother. The family is now desperate for Isobel to attend school and have enlisted the help of professionals and experts who agree that mainstream education would benefit her the most.

Despite contacting the SEND department to notify them of their decision to have Isobel attend a mainstream school, the family did not receive a response until months later. They were told that the local primary school was unsure if they could meet Isobel’s needs, but Lauren argues that all necessary equipment and one-to-one support is already provided through separate funding.

The family is now urging the SEND department to take action and secure Isobel’s placement at Bean Primary School. They say the delay is unacceptable and discriminatory towards their daughter with disabilities.

In response, a spokesperson for KCC stated that they take the responsibility of ensuring children with special educational needs have access to education seriously and have made significant improvements in the handling of SEN inquiries since last August. They also committed additional resources to support this.

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