Alternative educational arrangements for anxiety | MHT

Council to apologise for not offering young person with anxiety alternative educational arrangements

Local councils have a duty to provide alternative educational arrangements for young people who are unable to attend school, reminds the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman.

A flexible approach should be adopted by Councils, acknowledging individual circumstances in which a young person’s non-attendence may be due to reasons other than illness or exclusion. 

This is in light of their investigation into a complaint against West Sussex County Council. 

“The report makes one thing very clear – the needs of an individual should be prioritised over strict adherence to policy”.

School attendance legislation

The Education Act 1996 says that parents have a duty to ensure that children of compulsory school age are receiving suitable full-time education. If a child’s absence is due to sickness or an ‘unavoidable cause’, the Local Education Authority can apply for an Education Supervision Order (ESO). An ESO gives the Local Authority permission to give directions to the parents on how to support the child in receiving a proper education. The Order can last for up to 12 months and can be extended for a further 12 months (but only in the final 3 months of the Order). The maximum duration of an Order is 3 years.

When an Order is made, the parents of the child are legally required to comply with any directions the Court makes under the ESO. If the parents persistently fail to comply with any directions, they can be prosecuted.

The complaint

Mrs X complained that the West Sussex County Council failed to provide appropriate support for her daughter, Y, when she refused to attend school due to anxiety. The Council did not take the medical evidence she provided into account, meaning that her daughter was denied an education. 

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4 comments on “Alternative educational arrangements for anxiety | MHT
  1. rani says:

    is that recommended for us?

  2. Linda Buchan says:

    It’s certainly worth further exploration

  3. Siti Nur Amalia says:

    thats really good regulation

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