New children and education complaint decisions

A weekly update on children and education complaint decisions

Please note: our decisions are published six weeks after they are issued to councils, care providers and the person who has made the complaint. The cases below reflect the caselaw and guidance available at the time of issue and the individual circumstances of each case.


Summary: Mrs J complained the Council refused to fund travel costs for her daughter K, to attend school. A Tribunal had decided attendance at that school was not unreasonable public expenditure. And there is no viable public transport route to the school. This means Mrs J has had to arrange her own transport to get K to school.

Summary: There was fault by the Council in failing to put in place suitable full-time education when Y was unable to attend school due to bullying and anxiety. There was also fault in the Education, Health and Care (EHC) needs assessment and delay in issuing an EHC plan. This caused Y to miss out on full-time education for a period of eighteen months. Recommendations for an apology, financial remedy payment and service improvements are made.

Summary: We upheld Mrs X’s complaint about how the Council has handled her daughter Y’s education, health and care provision. There was fault in the Council’s approach to Y’s annual reviews and preparation for adulthood. The Council also failed to explain what provision would be delivered when colleges closed to most learners in response to COVID-19. These faults caused an injustice to Mrs X and Y, and the Council agreed to take action to remedy this.

Summary: Mrs X complains about the way the Council handled her daughter’s educational provision and Education, Health and Care plan. The Ombudsman largely does not find the Council at fault. However, the Ombudsman finds the Council at fault for delays issuing the final EHC plan. This caused Mrs X injustice. The Council has apologised and offered Mrs X a payment to reflect the injustice. The Ombudsman is satisfied the Council has taken action to remedy the injustice.

Summary: the complainant complained the Council failed to properly consider the college named in her son’s EHC Plan as the closest suitable college when deciding an application for transport support. The Council accepted it should have considered the college in the EHC Plan as closest and considered a fresh application for transport support. We found the Council at fault in making its first decision. In offering an apology, considering a fresh appeal, and providing details on low-income mileage allowance scheme we found the Council offered a proportionate remedy.

Summary: The Ombudsman will not investigate Miss X’s complaint about an unsuccessful appeal for a school place. This is because there is not enough evidence of fault and so we cannot question the merits of the panel’s decision.

Summary: We cannot investigate this complaint from a parent about the school admission appeal panel’s decision to turn down her appeal for a place for her child at an academy school. This is because the complaint does not meet the tests in our Assessment Code on how we decide which complaints to investigate. The law prevents us from considering complaints about academies. The Council’s actions in response to the complaint about its admissions team also cannot be investigated as its actions were on behalf of the academy.

Summary: Mr X complained that the Council did not deal with allegations made against him, as a foster carer, fairly. We found there was fault in the Council’s decision. The Council agreed to apologise, make a payment to Mr X and reconsider its decision.

Summary: Mr X complains that the Council’s failure to communicate with him about an investigation into his children directly affected his contact with them. The Council accepted it was at fault and had caused injustice before our intervention. Mr X says the Council’s remedy is inadequate. The Council has now agreed an enhanced financial remedy.

Summary: The Council is at fault in that it unreasonably delayed responding to Ms B’s complaint about the support provided to her disabled child. The Council has agreed to complete its Stage 2 investigation without further delay and to offer to make a payment to Ms B to remedy the unnecessary uncertainty and distress the delay has caused her.

Summary: Mrs B complains on behalf of Mr and Mrs X that the Council incorrectly measured the distance to their daughter’s school which led to the Council refusing their daughter’s free school transport application. They also complain about the Council’s refusal to refund all the school transport costs incurred because of its error. There was no evidence of fault in the way the Council made its decisions.

Summary: We will not investigate Mrs X’s complaint about an unsuccessful appeal for a school place. This is because there is not enough evidence of fault by the panel, and so we cannot question the merits of its decision.

Summary: We cannot investigate a complaint about the accuracy of information in the Council’s records. This is because the records either form part of a court report, or reflected allegations made by other bodies which are not in our jurisdiction. The Council was at fault because it did not provide the complainant with copies of meeting minutes in a timely way, but it has already addressed this. We have therefore completed our investigation.

Summary: We cannot investigate Mr X’s complaint about his son being wrongfully adopted because it lies outside our jurisdiction. The law prevents us from investigating complaints about matters that have been considered and decided in court.

Summary: We will not investigate this complaint about the Council’s handling of a safeguarding referral from Mr Z. This is because the complaint does not meet the tests in our Assessment Code on how we decide which complaints to investigate. There is insufficient evidence of fault and Mr Z can raise his issues is court.

Summary: We will not investigate this complaint about child protection. This is because the complaints raised are inextricably linked to matters considered in court. Court proceedings are outside our jurisdiction.

Summary: Mr B complained the Council failed to hold an annual review for his son for more than two years, failed to implement the provision in his son’s education, health and care plan, failed to provide his son with education while he was out of school, refused to allow his representative to attend an annual review meeting, issued several versions of the education, health and care plan which were inconsistent with what had been discussed, delayed issuing a final plan and failed to take action on safeguarding concerns. There is no fault in how the Council handled the safeguarding concerns or in relation to the representative attending an annual review meeting. The Council delayed holding an annual review for the education, health and care plan, failed to ensure all the provision in the plan was implemented and delayed issuing the final plan. An apology, payment to Mr B to reflect his time and trouble and the education his son missed and review of the procedure for handling annual reviews for education, health and care plans is satisfactory remedy.

Summary: Mrs B complained that the Council failed to provide suitable alternative education for her daughter C when she was unable to attend school due to anxiety. We found the Council failed to provide C with suitable alternative education, between October 2019 and March 2020. The Council has agreed to apologise to Mrs B, pay her £2000 to remedy the impact on C and a further £300 for Mrs B’s time and trouble in pursuing the matter. It has also agreed to review its policy, provide training and check alternative provision for other children in similar circumstances.

Summary: We cannot investigate this complaint about Mrs C’s son’s special educational needs. This is because Mrs C has appealed to a tribunal and the matters about which she has complained are not separable from those the tribunal can decide.

Summary: We will not investigate Ms X’s complaint that the Schools Admissions Appeal Panel failed to provide her child with a place at this school. It is unlikely the Ombudsman would find fault which caused her to lose out on a school place.

Summary: We will not investigate Miss X’s complaint that the Schools Admissions Appeal Panel failed to provide her child with a place at this school. It is unlikely the Ombudsman would find fault which caused her to lose out on a school place.

Summary: the Council was wrong to say that Ms M’s complaint about the attitude or behaviour of staff could not be dealt with by the complaints process. The Council has agreed to respond to Ms M’s complaint.

Summary: We will not investigate this complaint about the contents of a report. This is because it is reasonable for the complainant to raise their objections in court.

Summary: We will not investigate this complaint about the Council’s decision to restrict the complainant’s contact with it. This is because the complaint does not meet the tests in our Assessment Code on how we decide which complaints to investigate. There is no evidence of fault in the way that the Council made its decision, as it told Mr X very clearly the reasons for the restriction, outlined how and when he could contact the Council, ensured that his right to access his own data and to make representations regarding his children’s education was maintained, and told him when the restrictions would be reviewed.

Summary: We cannot investigate Mr X’s complaint about the Council’s actions and social worker’s opinions. A court is considering the case which is about the welfare of a child.

Summary: We will not investigate this complaint about the Councils actions in taking the complainants into care 13 years ago. The complaint is historic. There is no good reason to consider it now.

Summary: We will not investigate Mrs C’s complaint about the decision to refuse her application and appeal for a school place for her daughter. This is because there is no evidence of fault on the Council’s part.

Summary: Mr X complains that the Council has prevented him from contacting a child, B, who he previously cared for under a Special Guardianship Order. He also says the Council has told his partner not to mention Mr X’s name to B and has not provided an explanation for this. The Council is not at fault.

Summary: We will not investigate Mrs B’s complaint that the Council failed to carry out a risk assessment. This is because investigation would not lead to a different outcome.

Summary: Mr X complained the Council has failed to provide help and support to manage his son’s behaviour. The Council’s failure to implement the agreed care package or to explore wider support for Mr X’s family amounts to fault. This fault has caused an injustice.

Summary: We cannot investigate this complaint. This is because it concerns matters which have been decided in court.

Summary: We will not investigate this complaint about how the Council’s children’s services handled a child protection case involving the complainants child. This is because the events happened too long ago.

Summary: The Council is at fault for delaying considering a complaint at stage two of the children’s statutory complaints procedure. The Council has agreed to complete its stage two investigation without further delay and will offer to make a payment to the complainant to remedy the time and trouble its delay has caused him.