A MOTHER who feared her autistic daughter was being left to lag behind in a mainstream school said she felt ‘forced’ to home-school her.

The Botley resident, who asked not to be named, said her 11-year-old child was not getting the support she needed at primary school so she pulled her out and took her education into her own hands.

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One mother who contacted the Oxford Mail said: “First I had to fight for a diagnosis and an EHCP [education, health and care plan].

“She was really behind and they applied for one-to-one funding, which she got. Then the school kept swapping her one-to-one so she wasn’t bonding with that person, and she made no progress.

“They weren’t interested – all they cared about was her funding.

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“The council says I chose to home-school so I can’t get funding help. But I haven’t elected to home educate, I felt forced because they weren’t meeting her needs. There’s a massive difference.

“There must be so many people out there doing the same thing. The system is just so wrong.”

The woman’s daughter has been diagnosed with autism, OCD, separation anxiety, travel phobia and post-traumatic stress disorder from a bus accident.

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She pulled her out of school in September 2017, and later did the same for her 15-year-old sister, who has learning difficulties.

Click here to read the council's full response to the concerns

She added that when she suggested she could do a better job by home-schooling, the attitude was one of ‘get on with it.’

The mother added: “My life has changed massively – I used to be a carer, I used to work. This is now [my role] 24/7. My children come first and they always will do.

“We get up and do a bit of English and maths, and after that we’ll do a bit of cooking – I try to teach them things they’ll use in day-to-day life and teach them independence and awareness of danger.

“I have no teaching experience and have learned everything off the internet. We cut out and laminate all the shapes and she can now do fractions."

In June a report published by Oxfordshire County Council, investigating a surge in home-schooled children, said: “A lack of SEND [special educational needs and disabilities] provision meant that some families felt that they had to home educate for their children’s wellbeing.”

Lucy Baxter said her son Rafi, 15, has been out of school since summer after he became frightened of other pupils' 'volatile' behaviour.

Rafi, who lives near Abingdon and has Down's syndrome, had been in mainstream education but moved to a special school after having major surgery.

His mum said: "I was conned into sending him - everybody said a special school would meet his medical needs, but it hasn't.

"He was terrified of going to school, he was miserable. He's a bright chap and extremely well-behaved, and was terribly upset."

The 60-year-old highlighted two key concerns that led to her agreeing that he should not return.

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She said the school admitted trying Rafi with 'textured' food, despite his EHCP stating that he needs a pureed diet.

He also told his mother that another pupil had 'punched him in the stomach,' and that other students would 'throw chairs and shoes around.'

After Rafi's attendance dropped the school threatened Ms Baxter with a truancy fine or even prison term, to which she said he would not be returning and asked for him to be removed from the roll.

However, the school has not done so as it is named as Rafi's school on his EHCP, meaning it has assumed responsibility for his education.

Ms Baxter said: "I'm trying to do what I can but, officially, he is not being home-educated.

"I made it very clear that Rafi wasn't coming back - they could be giving that place to someone on the waiting list. It's ridiculous."