A MUM has blasted the county council for the way it has handled her autistic daughter’s education over the past couple of years.

Mandy Champ, from Botley, says she is currently paying ‘out of her own pocket’ to send her 12-year-old daughter Isobel to Animal Antiks, a specialist centre allowing children and adults to get hands-on in a farm environment.

While Isobel goes there for three days a week, Mrs Champ then home-schools her daughter for the remaining two.

Mrs Champ said Isobel has been diagnosed with autism, separation anxiety, and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).

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In January 2018, she attended a primary school in Botley, however when the school could no longer meet her needs, Mrs Champ looked to home-school her.

“Then we had a meeting with a SEND officer and we agreed for a slow integration at the Iffley Academy,” said Mrs Champ.

“She refused to go on the second integration day, and she got nervous and sick.

“Because of her OCD, we have to be very careful with her and we were told by the SEND officer that we couldn’t carry on with the integration and that the school couldn’t meet the needs of Isobel and that she needed a more bespoke package.

Oxford Mail: Mandy Champ is unhappy with the way Oxfordshire County Council has handled her daughter's SEND provision. Picture by Ed NixMandy Champ is unhappy with the way Oxfordshire County Council has handled her daughter's SEND provision. Picture by Ed Nix

“We carried on home-educating her and another SEND officer took over in June 2019, and they wanted to put her in a special needs school.

“It went to a panel in September last year and none of the schools could meet her needs, and the SEND officer told me they were looking at bespoke packages.

“Isobel likes animals and so these places could meet her therapeutic needs but not the educational ones – but I could still home-school her for two days a week.

“I thought this was great and we were getting somewhere and then we were told the SEND officer had been in touch with Iffley Academy, but they know the school can’t meet her needs and I told the SEND officer this.

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“I decided that as we weren’t getting anywhere, I would pay out of my own pocket for Isobel to go to Animal Antiks, which caters for children with special needs.

“When we went back to collect her on the first day, she’d had such an amazing day – it was such a massive achievement.

“It’s so important she gets the right setting, but with the council it’s as if they don’t want to help her or fund her, or that they can just put her in any school.

“The local authority is now consulting with a school that has already said it cannot meet my daughter’s needs.

“A psychiatrist has said a school placement is not right for her and we’re in the same position as we were two years ago, it’s been an absolute nightmare.”

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Mrs Champ said she is seeking for Oxfordshire County Council to fund Isobel attending Animal Antiks as a bespoke package.

A spokesperson for Oxfordshire County Council said: “We can’t talk about ongoing cases involving young people, other than to confirm we are in discussions with the parent to find the best possible solution.

“We are committed to ensuring every Oxfordshire child has access to an education that meets their needs.”