Mum's special needs victory

By Jessica Elgot, August 11, 2011
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A Hackney mother has won the right to choose a new placement for her special needs son after the closure of Manchester's Delamere Forest School.

Hackney LEA had earmarked 13-year-old Daniel Jones from Manor House for a place in Philip Green Memorial School, a Dorset residential establishment.

But Daniel's mother Maxine was keen to secure a place at LVS Hassocks, near Brighton, catering for children with autism and other special needs. LVS - which has higher fees than Hackney's preferred school - had agreed to provide kosher meals and Jewish studies for two other former Delamere pupils.

Rabbi Michael Bernstein, executive director of Embee Special Educational consultancy, spent weeks lobbying the council on behalf of the family and had several meetings with Hackney's head of SEN assessment and monitoring, Neil Hudson. Agreement was reached last Friday.

"This was the worst time for the school to close down and parents were extremely worried about getting their children into a school," Rabbi Bernstein said. "But so many school offices were shut for the summer. It would have been extremely traumatic and disruptive for the child.

"The measure of significant co-ordination and co-operation that has featured in this case particularly warrants mention. The Learning Trust [LEA] has displayed great empathy for Ms Jones and Daniel who, through no fault of theirs, were confronted with this untenable situation."

As previously reported, Ms Jones received an apology and compensation from Hackney Council for lack of support over past issues with his care.

    Last updated: 5:01pm, August 23 2011