Son 'left in limbo' over special needs school place

James Hockaday

A dad from Cippenham says his son is being used as a ‘political football’ over a challenge for a special needs school place.

In September, the Express reported how Alan Reay was forced to homeschool his 12-year-old son Joseph, after he was driven out of The Westgate School by bullies in June.

He says Slough Children’s Services Trust (SCST) has been unable to find him a suitable special educational needs (SEN) place since.

Joseph has ADHD and dyspraxia, which Alan says ordinary schools’ SEN departments are unable to cope with.

The 55-year-old says Manor Green School in Maidenhead, a special educational needs school, is the only school in the surrounding area suitable to his needs.

On Tuesday, December 6, SCST sent a legal notice to Manor Green School saying it had to take Joseph.

However the oversubscribed school has refused, saying the Royal Borough is responsible for its student admissions.

The frustrated father said: “The legal paperwork isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.”

Mr Reay has accused the Royal Borough of ‘sitting on their hands’ over the issue.

“They’re choosing to ignore it and they are using it as a political football,” he added.

Alan says since initially homeschooling his son, Joseph has more recently been provided with private tuition by SCST.

However, he says the three hours of tuition a day he receives is inadequate and worries that he is not making any friends while being homeschooled.

“In the meantime he’s left in limbo. There’s no prospect for him at the moment,” he added.

“He’s frustrated that he’s not in school.”

The retired prison officer says Joseph, who is often bullied by children from a nearby estate, is feeling increasingly depressed.

Alan says SCST took the issue to the Department of Education in December and he is awaiting its response.

He has also contacted Slough MP Fiona Mactaggart asking her to raise the issue in Parliament.

The Royal Borough, SCST and Manor Green School all declined to comment.


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