A Croydon mum has spoken out after her son who has special needs was left without a school place for over a year.

Marley from Croydon described her anguish after revealing that her son Logan, 7, who was previously diagnosed with autism and ADHD, has been out of lessons and without a school for over 15 months.

She told the Croydon Guardian how teachers at Logan's former infant school, plus a psychologist in addition to Marley's own input, concluded that his needs required specialist schooling in order for him to get the education he needs.

As such, Marley applied for and acquired an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) document to present to Croydon Council that details Logan's needs and the type of teaching he requires.

Despite this, no special school place could be found for Logan in Croydon despite what seemed to be a clear and urgent need for one.

"He's was out of school for about 15 months. I was trying, begging, asking everyone at the council to help me but he's still not in school," Marley said.

"He was in a mainstream school. He needed a specialist school. And the council just put in every delay and excuse possible not to put him in a specialist school.

"First they said we needed the EHCP. Then we got that and they said there were no spaces left or that there was one 10 miles away which wasn't suitable.

"I've emailed my councillors, my MP, the head of the council, anyone who could help. And no-one seems to want to help," she added.

Marley, who praised Logan's former infant school for their efforts in trying to help him before he left, revealed that since then she was forced to quit her job.

The Croydon mum worked on the NHS frontline as a social care worker for several GPs in Croydon, meaning the borough has also lost a vital key worker as a result of the situation.

"I've had to give up my job because obviously I can't leave him at home by himself. His little brother has had to leave nursery because my son is quite scared about leaving the house. They're both out of school and losing their education now," she said.

Marley is now reliant on state benefits in order to get by, but that still represents a big drop in her income, which has only compounded the family's difficulties further.

The only practical solution is to find an appropriate school place for her son who so desperately needs one.

"Logan needs some sort of education. He's missed all of year two, he's going to juniors now. We have no idea where he is educationally because he hasn't been in school for so long," she said.

"Socially too, he hasn't had a chance to make any friends or develop with his peer group because he's stuck at home.

"I'm just really disappointed. It's not an isolated case. There are hundreds of children going through the same thing," Marley added, suggesting that Croydon Council's criteria for getting specialist help for disabled children was so high that many who genuinely needed help were left without any.

Marley and Logan's case raises broader issues regarding the way autism and education is handled in the UK, and her suggestion that many children suffer in a similar way seems accurate.

As the National Autistic Society's Head of Policy, Public Affairs and Research Partnerships Tim Nicholls told the Croydon Guardian:

We know from talking to parents that there are real issues with getting the right support for their child, in particular when their child has more complex needs.

"Too many autistic children are held back from progress they could be making."

Nicholls added that the problem stemmed from the lack of a properly funded system to address this issue that contributed to a lack of appropriate school places and teachers to ensure kids like Logan get the help they need.

"There is a huge problem regarding autistic children not getting the support they need in school.

"We carried out research that found that 70 per cent of parents of autistic children were waiting six months to get support for their children, and half the parents (surveyed) were waiting a year or more to get support.

"Each child is different and assessments should be based on what the child needs rather than what is available," he pointed out, adding that a "big gap in funding from central government" was exacerbating the issue.

The Croydon Guardian approached Croydon Council directly with questions regarding Marley story.

Though the council declined to comment on Logan's case specifically, a spokesperson instead offered the following statement:

"We take very seriously our legal and duty of care responsibilities to give all Croydon children a good education and support through to adulthood.

"For children and young people with special educational needs, there is a full range of local expertise from nurseries, schools, colleges, services and community providers so they get appropriate and timely support.

"Where a child requires assessment and has an EHCP we work closely with them and their parents or carers to identify appropriate support from a range of options.

"This can include specialist school placements, alternative provision and home tuition. We cannot discuss individual students’ cases."

NB: After Croydon Guardian first spoke with Marley and Croydon Council, Marley said that Croydon Council have since offered Logan a place at the Chaffinch Brook and Autism Outreach School in Croydon.