The Evening Standard is reporting that a former City worker praised by David Cameron for setting up a “brilliant” home-school network has told of her two years of “hell” being pursued through the courts over the education of her son…
Mother-of-three Sophie Sotello, 46, claims she has been “hounded” by Kensington and Chelsea council because of concerns over the education provided to Gabriel, 11.
A School Attendance Order was made in June last year after officers ruled the child, described by one expert as “very articulate, able to touch type, with an adult reading age”, was not receiving a suitable education.
Mrs Sotello, who lives in Chelsea, still refused to send him to a mainstream school and was convicted of failing to comply with the order in March this year and fined £1,020.
She was due to appear at the Old Bailey today to appeal the conviction and apply to overturn the order. But the council last night announced it had dropped the case, within minutes of being contacted by the Standard.
Mrs Sotello said: “It has been two years of absolute hell. It almost ruined our family but at least we are alive and will try to recover…”
Mrs Sotello believes the problems began in September 2013 when Kensington and Chelsea merged its education teams with City of Westminster and Hammersmith and Fulham councils in a tri-borough agreement.
She refused to let council officers into her home to conduct an inspection which prompted the legal action.
State schools receive extra funding for each child with special educational needs and Mrs Sotello said: “The private joke within our home schooling community is they are treating this like a parking ticket and just want the revenue like it’s easy money…
There’s obviously quite a bit of history between Mrs Sotello and the local authority but what do you make of the suggestion that councils are trying to get children with special needs out of home-schooling and into schools because of the money available?
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