A GAP in the school provision for children unable to cope in mainstream education means an 11-year-old girl from Kidderminster will be unable to attend school next term.

Mum-of-five Katherine O’Sullivan is fighting to secure a special needs school place for her daughter Georgina Jones-White, who suffers with a rare genetic condition, after the local authority said the placement would be an “unreasonable public expenditure”.

Georgina has a chromosomal duplication condition, which causes autism symptoms including sensory issues and learning difficulties, as well as severe depression and physical pain, however Worcestershire County Council has said her needs could be met in a mainstream setting.

Mum Katherine, 43, said: “I was fighting for a long time to get my daughter a care plan and eventually the local authority did an assessment and I got the EHCP in June, but they put Baxter College down as her mainstream placement.

“My daughter is meant to be starting secondary school in September but we’ve been told she is only working to a year four level.

"The New Elizabethan School offered her a place in their junior school - they said she would have to be put back - but the local authority said that would be an unreasonable expenditure on the public purse.

"Baxter College has since had a Zoom call with my daughter and said they would not be able to offer her the one to one support to meet her needs. I will not send her to a school that cannot give her what she needs.

“Georgina has a lot of issues - she’s double incontinent, which is very difficult for a mainstream school to deal with. She also suffers with extreme physical pain and has sensory difficulties which means she will collapse if there is a lot of noise, bright light or lots of people around her."

Katherine added: “She can’t go to Wyre Forest School because she is not severely physically or mentally disabled, but there’s no way she could cope in a mainstream setting. She doesn’t have severe behavioural issues - she's a quiet girl, so she falls in that gap in between. There is no provision suitable for children like my daughter.

"This is a fight not just for my child but for other children as well. I know so many parents who cannot get suitable placements for their children."

Katherine is now appealing the local authority's decision, but may need to wait until January for a tribunal - meaning Georgina will be unable to start school in September.

Stephen Brown, from Wyre Forest Labour, said: “I’ve seen the assessments for Georgina, which are very powerful evidence of her disability and her rare genetic condition.

“She deserves to have support for her special educational needs in the most appropriate setting and it’s evident this won’t be found in mainstream education.

“Such support will help Georgina make proper progress and mitigate her own anxieties, as well as those being experienced by her mum too. It’s a very stressful situation for the family. No one should have to battle it out like this.

“Frankly, it beggars belief that the council could even begin to think Georgina is suitable for mainstream education. This is about the council wanting to save money, nothing else.

“Georgina deserves better.”

Councillor Marcus Hart, Worcestershire County Council’s cabinet member for education and skills, said: “Parent carers have a right to ask for a particular educational setting for their child and we aim to meet this preference where ever possible.

“Where we have not been able to meet parental preference we continue to work with parent carers along with the suitable and appropriate school as closely as possible to reach a mutual agreement with the effective support in place for the child.

“This is a sensitive matter and there are complex issues to be considered and we will work with the family to try and resolve them.”