We feel like we're in a 'horrible experiment' after our twins were split up into different schools… we're devastated | The Sun

PARENTS of autistic twins feel they are in a "horrible experiment" as their sons were split up into different schools.

Peter and Rhiannon Hale, who live in York, said only one of their sons has been given a place at a special school – while the other will go to a mainstream primary.

The pair's son Jasper was offered a place at Hob Moor Oaks School, which supports children with special education needs.

Meanwhile, his twin brother Reuben has been given a place at St Paul's Primary – a mainstream school in the city.

The twins were diagnosed with autism last April.

Legal documents were drawn up by City of York Council and the NHS showing both have "significant difficulty" with social interaction and communication.

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The twins are non-verbal and have Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs) detailing "significant" difficulties.

Peter and Rhiannon, who is a former deputy head, said a discussion with City of York Council to try to reverse the decision had not succeeded.

Councillors said that Hob Moor Oaks School is over-subscribed.

Peter, 40, who is a former special needs teacher, told York Press: "We cannot understand the logic. They are identical twins with identical levels of needs.

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"Our boys will be put on completely different trajectories. Jasper and Reuben are very close. They have lovely laughs together."

Pete and Rhiannon, who run a day nursery in the city, had put down Hob Moor Oaks School as their first choice of school for their boys for September 2023.

The couple thought both of their sons would need places at a school with special educational support.

But the family's second place school turned down both twins, saying they would not be able to meet their needs.

Pete said: "Our third choice accepted both, but said 'although we've said yes, we do feel that a specialist provision may best suit Reuben's needs'."

It feels like a horrible experiment.

City of York Council said the authority will work with the family to find a solution for the twins.

Martin Kelly, corporate director, children's and education at City of York Council, said: "Clearly it would not be appropriate for us to discuss individual cases in public, other than to say that we are continuing to work with the family to find suitable provision. 

"The allocation of special school places always takes account of the circumstances of individual children – and where children are in enhanced resource provision or in mainstream provision this is considered by the admissions panel with school places allocated on this basis. 

"In common with local authorities nationally, York has seen a significant increase in parental requests for special school places since 2020.

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"We are addressing this increase by implementing capital plans which both increase specialist and enhanced resource provisions – and support appropriate adaptations in mainstream education."

The parents said they are willing to take the case to a tribunal.

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