A PARENT has blasted the lack of provision in Oxfordshire for children with special educational needs and disabilities.

Michelle Aylwin says her 10-year-old son Thomas has missed more than a year of his education with another 12 months a possibility.

The Sandhills Community Primary School pupil was diagnosed with autism when he was four, with his mum saying he struggled in a mainstream school.

Mrs Aylwin said Thomas was placed on a reduced timetable at the end of Year 4 after experiencing a breakdown.

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She said: “When Covid hit, he wasn’t going to school and we tried to get him in school in June but the school said they couldn’t due to being at full capacity with children of key workers.

“I feel bad for the school as they said they can’t meet his needs but the local authority decided Thomas had to remain in mainstream school at a panel last spring.

“This came despite us being advised by doctors that he shouldn’t go back to a mainstream school due to his problems.

“The local authority then wrote to us in the second week of August this year to say they recognised Thomas should be in a specialist school.”

Despite this, Mrs Aylwin said specialist schools across the county are full therefore Thomas remains without a school place.

She said: “The problem now though is that there’s no places at specialist schools – the local authority has consulted with five schools and all have said they’re at full capacity.

“One of me or my husband has to be in with Thomas but when my husband goes back to work, we’re hoping that my parents will be able to help out.

“We’ve tried homeschooling but we’re not experts and Thomas doesn’t engage.

“He isn’t having any interaction with other children, which is having an effect on him.

“He’s not had a year of that interaction, and possibly another year, and we’re worried about this on his development.”

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In June, the family forked out on a solicitor in an attempt to help their case.

“We were hoping the local authority would give in, but we had to bite the bullet and get a solicitor on board,” said Mrs Aylwin.

“We had to sell the car to cover the cost of this.

“We literally don’t know what to do at this point, we’re looking at two years lost in education for Thomas.

“I can’t say in words how horrific it feels for us – we’ve fought things before, but this is the worst thing we’ve been through.

“The worst bit is that there’s no end in sight and it feels like we’re at breaking point with nothing else we can do.”

Oxfordshire County Council was contacted for a comment but failed to provide one.