By Aliki Kraterou and James Somper
A mum claims her deaf son has been left without a school to go to for NINE MONTHS – due to vital paperwork allegedly going missing.
Seven-year-old Jenson Lindop-Lamens was taken out of Lindow Primary School in Wilmslow, Cheshire, last December by his parents because the staff there could not provide him with full-time one to one British Sign Language (BSL) assistance.
But his parents Jenny, 37, and Richard, 41, claim council chiefs have been made no effort to find their son a place at another suitable school in the area – and even allege he does not need to use sign language.
The furious couple also allege Jenson, who became profoundly deaf as a tot after contracting bacterial meningitis, had a place at his first choice school turned down by education bosses last October without his family being consulted.
Stay-at-home mum-of-four Jenny, who has now been forced to home school Jenson, said: “Jenson is the most adorable child you will ever meet.
“Everyone falls in love with him and he oozes personality.
“We are desperate to get Jenson back to school. He definitely misses it, and just wants to be like all the other children.
“What the council is saying – that there is no evidence Jenson needs to go to a signing school – is ridiculous.
“He needs to be in a signing environment, using his sign language, and having children sign back to him.
“Sitting through classes he does not understand in a mainstream school does not help him, he’s not learning anything – it will just make him anxious.
“The council claims Jenson lacks considerate communication with hearing children, but how can they expect my son to communicate with another child that cannot sign?
“It feels like he is just a piece of paperwork to them.
“It is a complete discrimination against the deaf.
“No mainstream child would be allowed out of education for longer than two weeks without his parents being prosecuted.”
Jenny claims after four months of no action since taking Jenson out of school, meeting with council representatives were arranged in April but nothing was resolved.
In May she decided to take her son’s appeal to a Special Educational Needs tribunal, and is now waiting to present evidence at a hearing in November.
And Jenny said home-schooling Jenson also means she is missing out on valuable time with her other children; James, 19, Eleanor, 17, and Kristian, 10.
While the council did begin providing Jenson with a daily two-and-a-half-hour BSL tuition session in May, Jenny claims she was told she would still have to be present to translate as Jenson’s tutor does not have BSL.
The frustrated mum said her son, who was left with hearing loss and brain damage after developing bacterial meningitis at 16 months old, is a ‘clever and sweet boy who likes being at school’.
Jenny added: “When I removed Jenson from school in December, I assumed I could just transfer him to another more suitable one.
“But when I emailed Cheshire East Council in January to obtain Jenson’s Educational Healthcare Plan (EHP) I discovered it was three years out of date and had not been updated to say Jenson needs British Sign Language (BSL).
“It is difficult for any school to accept Jenson without an up to date EHP, so he has nowhere to go until the plan is updated.
“According to the current plan he can go to any school but this isn’t correct – that paperwork hasn’t been updated since before he started school, at which point he wasn’t signing yet.
“Last September it was agreed by the council that Jenson was entitled to a signing bilingual approach.
“But this document – which should be included in his plan – has gone missing, they say they never had it.
“The council are also now claiming they do not have any evidence Jenson needs to go to a sign language school.
“And when Jenson was offered a place at our first choice school, the council told them we were looking at other schools.
“But that’s not true, they didn’t notify us.
“I feel like we are being completely ignored.
“The council haven’t spoken to Jenson or checked his welfare.
“The government gives them money every year for Jenson’s schooling, but where is that money?
“It must be just sitting in the bank doing nothing.
“All the council has to do is send the funding to Jenson’s first choice school, and he’d be able to start tomorrow.”
Jenny claims she has even been told she is ‘harassing’ staff at Cheshire East Council because she called them multiple times over a four-week period to sort out her son’s situation.
Cheshire East Council said they could not comment on Jenny’s allegation Jenson’s first choice school was turned down by the council without discussing this first with his family.
But in a statement, a spokesman added: “Cheshire East Council does not comment on individual cases of this nature but can confirm that it operates a robust process, in accordance with the law, to ensure that a child’s needs are met within their education, health and care plan.
“The decision to remove the child from his school was taken by the parents.
“We continue to seek to find a solution to the current situation and remain open to working with the family to achieve that.
“This matter is due to be considered by the SEND tribunal in November and the local authority will adhere to any binding decisions made by the tribunal at that hearing.”