North Northamptonshire Council has been instructed to compensate a family with £1,500 following a ruling from the Local Government Ombudsman. The decision comes after a young girl missed a significant amount of schooling due to her health, with the council failing to provide the required support and tuition. The ombudsman’s investigation determined that the council should have offered assistance six months earlier, when the student’s school first reported her absences in December 2022.
Initially, the council suggested that the school should take responsibility for providing support and allow the student to work from home. However, the school referred her to a hospital outreach education service, which provided tutoring in English and computer science. The family also organized and paid for additional tuition in maths and science. It was not until May that the council finally offered a support package of 10 hours of tuition per week. The ombudsman criticized the council for not providing a full-time education and stated that the student had suffered an injustice by missing a considerable amount of schooling.
In response to the ombudsman’s findings, the council has expressed its sincerest apologies for the identified failings and the difficulties faced by the family during this period. Council leader Jason Smithers acknowledged the findings and assured that the council will ensure that the student receives an appropriate education that caters to her needs. Smithers also emphasized that the council will learn from this case to prevent similar issues from occurring in the future.
As part of the ruling, the council has been directed to pay £1,500 to the family. This sum includes compensation for failing to provide the student with a comprehensive learning provision and for the expenses incurred by the family for private tutoring. The council will now take steps to rectify its mistakes and ensure that the student receives the necessary support to continue her education.