A DESPERATE mother is appealing for help after one of her sons has been out of school for TWO years.

Former Met police officer Michelle Ashworth, 37, moved from London to Frinton in the hopes of finding school places for three autistic children.

Her children Bradley, 11, Alfie, eight and Harry, six, find it difficult meeting new people and their speech development is delayed.

Mrs Ashworth said: “I could cry. My eldest boy has now been out of school for two years because there are no places at special needs schools.”

Mrs Ashworth said she was told she could not apply to Market Field School in Elmstead Market until she lived in the area but when she moved, she was told it was full.

The new £10 million school was built for 210 students but already has 300.

Mrs Ashworth and her husband, who worked night shifts as a cleaner, have both given up their jobs to make sure they can provide around the clock care for their children.

Mrs Ashworth said: “I worked for the police, never had any problems and paid my council tax. Now I have no choice but to rely on benefits.”

She added: “They should be in school, it is so important for them to receive careful guidance. They need specialist education, they need speech therapy. At home they are safe and happy, but that isn’t life.

“How are they going to cope in the future, with getting a job, with social settings if they don’t learn these skills now?

“They are now extremely behind and we are realising we may have no other choice but to move again and uproot our lives.”

Mrs Ashworth said Essex County Council has offered to pay for a tutor to home school the three boys but she says finding a place at a school is vital for their social development.

“My eldest says it feels like this is his fault and asks ‘Why doesn’t anyone want me?’

“He says: ‘Other kids go to school – it’s because no-one likes me.’ It breaks my heart.”

“The truth is the provision of special needs school places just isn’t there at the moment.”

Essex County Council plans to spend up to £115 million on creating more than 400 new special school places across Essex including a new £19 million building for Lexden Springs School in Colchester.