Mum’s plea as autistic son is out of school for two years

SUS-180111-135216001
SUS-180111-135216001

A mum claims her autistic son has received no formal education for two years after fleeing his school, sparking a major police hunt.

Isaias was seven when he ran away from St Mary Magdalene School on January 20 2017, prompting scores of police officers, dog teams and the Sussex Police helicopter to comb Pebsham in a bid to trace him.

Mum Jay Brewerton says that since the incident, the school told her it could not meet her son’s needs and Isaias has not returned.

However despite being offered spaces at four special schools in the aftermath of the incident, Jay says East Sussex County Council is refusing to provide funding for a placement.

Instead she claims the council is insisting on keeping her son on the roll at St Mary Magdalene School.

Jay said: “We have to have a lengthy meeting each year and review the documents they created for him after he had left school when the school said they did not have the staff, time funding or resources to support him.

“The school has stated multiple times now they cannot meet his needs, which should trigger ESCC to fund him a special needs placement, which they have not. Because he’s still on the roll they can say they are providing an education.”

One of the schools to offer Isaias a space was St Mary’s School and College in Wrestwood Road - just a few minutes from the family home in Haslam Crescent.

But Jay said: “ESCC told us we can’t have St Mary’s because we live too close to the school, which is ridiculous. They wouldn’t fund transport.

“But we were told we are not allowed to walk or drive him into school anymore because he is a danger to other road users and himself.”

When gripped by anxiety, Isaias runs from situations and can become violent towards his mother, father and siblings causing multiple injuries requiring A&E treatment.

Isaias has the reading and writing ability of a less then three-year-old, but the maths skills of a 14-year-old.

Jay said: “He’s got the ability to do amazing things when he is older. At the moment he is being denied education.

“In the last two years we have had nothing from East Sussex County Council, even though it’s their duty to provide an education.”

An East Sussex County Council spokesman said: “We understand Ms Brewerton’s concerns and are aware that she would prefer Isaias to be educated in a special school.

“However, an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) is in place for Isaias in which the school he was attending is identified as being capable of meeting his needs, and he remains on the roll at this school.

“We have a duty to spend our increasingly limited funds wisely and in this case we don’t feel special school provision is necessary to meet Isaias’s needs.

“We share Ms Brewerton’s concerns about the length of time Isaias has been out of school but he has a school place available and it is her responsibility to ensure he attends school.

“We will continue to work with the family to try and find an outcome which all parties are satisfied with.”