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Last Updated: Monday, 14 March, 2005, 10:46 GMT
Autistic schoolboy 'denied place'
child in school
Jane Able said her son could not cope at a mainstream school
The mother of an autistic child has accused a council of "constructively excluding" her son from school.

Jane Able, from Eastry, in Kent, has been teaching Rupert, 13, at home for the last five months, saying he was "traumatised" by mainstream education.

She said Kent County Council (KCC) had now offered a place at her first choice of special school, but the setbacks now made that place unsuitable.

In response, KCC said it was planning to expand its special needs places.

I feel they (KCC) have constructively excluded him by naming a school on his statement that they know he would be scared of
Jane Able
After attending primary school, Rupert's mother had asked for him to be sent to Laleham special needs school, in Margate, to cater for his requirements.

However, he was sent to the mainstream Sandwich Technology School instead, where he had outreach help from Laleham.

But Mrs Able said within the first year he showed signs of failing "emotionally, socially, and to some degree academically".

She took him out of the secondary school last October after he had a breakdown.

Review of schools

KCC has now said Rupert can attend Laleham School as a full-time pupil.

However, Mrs Able claimed Laleham could not help him previously, and she did not expect the school to help him now.

"He needs an even smaller environment now because of the setbacks.

"I feel they have constructively excluded him by naming a school on his statement that they know he would be scared of," she said.

Kent County Council declined to comment on Mrs Able's case, but said following a review of the county's special schools, which began in 2002, it would be expanding its special needs places in areas such as behaviour, autism and communication.

Mrs Able is now planning to take her son's case to a tribunal.

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