Dad 'frustrated' at lack of special needs schools

James Hockaday

A frustrated father from Cippenham is being forced to home school his son, who has special needs, because Slough Borough Council (SBC) is unable to find him a suitable school place.

Joseph Reay, 12, from St George's Crescent, suffers from ADHD and dyspraxia and was bullied at The Westgate School, causing his father Allan to pull him out in June.

Mr Reay says he met with the school and Slough Borough Council to discuss his son’s future where both parties agreed Joseph required a special educational needs (SEN) school place.

But Mr Reay has so far been unable to find his son a suitable place in either Slough or the Royal Borough.

The 55-year-old retired prison officer said: “He’s sitting at home, I’m trying to do work with him but he’s not getting the education he needs.

“He’s two years behind them in terms of his education and hand-eye coordination difficulties.

“It’s a very crucial time and a turning point for him.”

Joseph has since visited Manor Green School, a SEN school in Maidenhead, which he visited and enjoyed.

However Joseph is unable to attend the school because it is oversubscribed and he is currently on the school’s waiting list.

He will be unable to join this term unless another student leaves.

Mr Reay says SBC has referred him to other secondary schools but none that can meet Joseph’s needs.

He now says he is frustrated at the whole education system and blames the council and the Government for not focusing on providing enough SEN places.

He added: “We’re looking to sell the house. If you go to South Devon and Somerset they’ve got schools with 10 SEN places but only three SEN pupils in the school.”

Joseph’s mother Jane works part-time and Mr Reay recently retired after suffering a serious leg injury three years ago.

He added that he struggles to cope with his son’s behavioural issues while teaching.

“It’s difficult because I have to take strong painkillers which makes me become a little bit fuzzy,” he added.

A council spokesman said it was providing educational resources like books, worksheets and guidance to help Mr Reay.

The spokesman added: “We are continuing to work closely with the family to find a school that can meet their child’s needs.”

The borough council says it plans to commit £19m to create an extra 307 SEN places in the borough before 2022.

A Royal Borough spokesman added: “The Royal Borough is committed to ensuring all of our children and young people with special educational needs or disabilities have a good education in a wide range of schools appropriate to their needs.”

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