My son is being “held captive” by his school – it doesn’t meet his needs… I’m angry

An angry mother has claimed her son is being “held captive” in a school that fails to meet his complex needs.

Katie Hattersley, from Birmingham, is embroiled in a bitter dispute with the council over her son’s education, claiming he is currently getting no more than ‘babysitting’ service.

Katie Hattersley and her 17-year-old son Joe


Katie Hattersley and her 17-year-old son JoeCredit: BPM

The 17-year-old attends Hazel Oak in Solihull, a special school for children with moderate learning disabilities, some of whom are on the autism spectrum.

The school was rated as excellent in its most recent Ofsted report and Solihull Council has defended the school on the grounds that it has ‘provided substantial professional support for many years’.

Katie claims that Joe, who has speech and language difficulties, currently gets little more than ‘babysitting’ service at the provider’s high school.

Speaking to BirminghamLive, she told how a reorganization of the sixth form in September 2019 had resulted in Joe being tutored at nearby Solihull College.

The concerned mother described it as a “horrific situation” and said he had been moved from the “safe area of ​​the special education campus to three rented classrooms in a huge general education college”.

She added: “Some days students spend all day in their classrooms because they are too scared to go to the canteen.

“It’s an intimidating environment that mixes with mainstream students.

“Our son is vulnerable and it’s not a safe environment for him.

“The local authority has not asked at all since the upper school moved.

“The students are neither part of their school nor part of the college.”

Katie claims parents were “promised that the move would give students access to areas of the college to enhance their experience”.

But that “in reality all children have access to the canteen, gymnasium and library”.

The determined mother previously brought local authorities before a tribunal, but it did not rule in her favour.

She hopes it will “encourage” other parents to speak up by speaking up and lead to some change.

Before the tribunal, Katie called for the legal inclusion of speech and language therapy in her son’s education, health and care plan [EHCP] and to try and get him a better college placement.

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It was decided that Joe needed weekly speech and language therapy but had to stay in Hazel Oak.

Katie said: “I know the local authorities think I have an ax to grind because Joe was forced to stay in Hazel Oak, but that’s not the case.

“What I want to uncover is the terrible college deal that Solihull is offering to SEND children.

“No child should have to shred paper and feed ducks for an internship at 16.

“A zip code lottery must not restrict the life chances of young people.”

A spokesman for Solihull Council said: “While we cannot comment on individual cases, our priority is to ensure all children and young people receive a proper education.

“In all cases where a tribunal has taken place, we are bound by the verdict.

“Hazel Oak Sixth Form has provided important professional support for many years.

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“They are an Ofsted rated outstanding school, enabling children to gain qualifications and learn skills that will help them for the rest of their lives.

“The school’s ties to local colleges and businesses provide a range of learning opportunities that help young people prepare for the end of 13th grade.”

Katie says she wants to


Katie says she wants to “uncover the horrific college policy that Solihull is offering to SEND kids.”Credit: BPM


PaulLeBlanc is a Dailynationtoday U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. PaulLeBlanc joined Dailynationtoday in 2021 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

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