Sheffield family in battle over school place

Tracey and Roy Jones are fighting to get their autistic daughter into the school of their choice.
Tracey and Roy Jones are fighting to get their autistic daughter into the school of their choice.
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A Sheffield couple are fighting to get their autistic daughter into the special school they believe she needs - after a two-year battle with the council.

Roy and Tracey Jones took their 15-year-old daughter Steph out of Birley Community College a year ago after she complained of bullying – and she has been out of full- time schooling ever since.

The couple want the council to place her at Brantwood Specialist School in Nether Edge, an independent centre which admits youngsters with issues similar to Steph’s.

However, the family from Norfolk Park say Sheffield Council are unwilling to pay the annual fees of £50,000.

Mrs Jones said: “We have been trying to get Steph the school place she needs for more than two years now and we took our case unsuccessfully to a tribunal.

“The whole process takes months – we kept getting referred to Birley which does have an integrated resource, but it is away from the other students, out of sight in the old school building.”

Steph has since been allocated a place at Forge Valley Community School at Stannington, an offer which is still on the table.

However, Mrs James said: “It’s just completely wrong for Steph.

“It’s eight miles away from our home, the school is massive and intimidating.

“The integrated resource is also oversubscribed.”

The couple are now planning to take their case to the High Court, but accept the process will be slow.

Mrs Jones said: “We are in constant talks with the authority and Steph is also receiving six hours of tuition a week.

“We feel the whole system is complicated and flawed and is failing our daughter - but we won’t give up on her.”

Iain Peel, a senior council officer, said: “We are continuing to work with the family to resolve this case.

“A place has been offered and made available for their daughter at an appropriate school for several months.

“The parents also have the option of accepting our offer of increased home tuition.”