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Mum’s ‘wrong school’ stand

Reporter: Robbie Gill
Date online: 04 September 2014

A MOTHER could face fines for not sending her autistic child to school in a stand-off over his placement.

Emma Brooks (25), of Shaw, had applied for a place her four-year-old son Lucas at St Paul’s, Royton, because she felt it was best-suited to accommodate his condition.

But Lucas, due to start this week, wasn’t offered a place at St Paul’s - leaving Buckstones his only option.

Mrs Brooks says she will dispute any sanctions to ensure Lucas gets the most suitable school. Parents can abe fined for not sending their children to school.

She said: “For me it is much more important that he gets placed in the right school that will give him the best platform for his future.”

Children with learning conditions complete a special educational needs procedure to become “statemented”, allowing the authority to decide the best school for them. Lucas won’t go through the statement procedure until December. Mrs Brooks has been asked to place him at Buckstones until then, when a place at St Paul’s could become available.

But Mrs Brooks says her son’s condition could be a problem: “He can’t accept change. It can take him between a year and two years to settle anywhere. We can’t put him in one school then take him out in three months. That would be too much for him. I don’t want him to go to Buckstones, He’ll get isolated. It’s not the best environment for him at all.”

Mrs Brooks has also called on the council to provide more places for children with autism and do what they can to provide the right help at more mainstream schools to help other children.

“The panel at the council has never met him. It only takes ten seconds to realise he’s different. I just want the right facilities to improve his future.”

Councillor Amanda Chadderton, Oldham Council’s Cabinet Member for Education and Safeguarding, said: “If a parent doesn’t agree with the school place they have the right to appeal. We are committed to giving every pupil the best start in life.”


I can fully understand the concern you have for your son. All I can say is that my son Sean is Autistic and attends Buckstones CP and I can honestly say his progress has beeen beyond our wildest hopes and dreams. Sending my son to Buckstones is probably the smartest descision I ever made.

Do you think that common sense will prevail in this case?
Probably not!!

Many thanks Shaw_resident I appreciate your comments and I believe Buckstones is a good school however I believe that children with ASD are all different and I dont believe this school to be the best placement for my son due to his needs and neither do involved professionals. There is demand for resources provided at St Pauls and the council need to do something about this.

I have 2 sons who attend Buckstones. They deal with a wide range of needs, I feel that the comment that, 'he would be isolated', is not an accurate reflection of the school at all. I have every faith that Lucas would thrive at this school. They have recently achieved 'Outstanding', in ALL areas, which includes how well they respond to children with a wide spectrum of needs. Buckstones is a fantastic school that ensures that every child is happy. I could not recommend Buckstones more.

Shaw_resident many thanks for your comments. I am nit saying Buckstones is not a good school as it is however as you will know children with ASD can be at various ends of the spectrum and after visits alone and with Lucas and know its not the right environment for him to learn. The procedures which the council adhere to are sometimes unecessary and my complaints need addressing. X

I do think that you, as the mother of this child, is dealing with this in the wrong manner - by trying to sort your grievances in a public forum, or the media, is basically a method of spitting your dummy out.

How can you literally criticise the school he has been allocated a place - accept it and work with it - he may actually enjoy it, and I would be 100% confident that the school will put specific measures in place to assist with your sons needs.

I had exactly the same situation with my son 10 years ago (different part of the country) The NAS suggested that I should take the authority to tribunal and as soon as I mentioned that intention the authority agreed that I was right all along.

Good Luck

Hang on first of all he is four so in actual fact he doesn't have to legally have an education until the term after his fifth birthday. Secondly under UK law you have to give an education to every child over five this does NOT mean you have send every child to school she can choose very legally to educate him at home in whatever way she chooses it doesn't have to be the national curriculum. This fining stuff is utter nonsense, she hasn't broken any laws whilst she is getting this sorted out.

I took my son out of that school(buckstones) as in my eyes its not even close to outstanding... .they failed My child, Where my child is now he has come on leaps and bounds and leaving there was the best decision. So I would say to u.. Stick to your guns and don't settle for what u have been given.

I support your stance.he doesn't actually need to attend school until lucas is 5. We felt St pauls wasn't right for our son and every autistic child is different. I feel too the first day is so important especially to an autistic child who struggles to adapt to everyday life. I hope you succeed. Have you managed to get a statement yet? Not every school agrees to inclusion and the council need to be aware off it.Our local school (delph) asked if we had looked elsewhere??

You clearly have not read the article properly @ straight talker. Buckstones is a good school however is not the right environment for my son. I have explored my options and st pauls is my preference however due to demand this facility is full. The council need to provide more resources for children likr Lucas who dont deal well in social groups so if you call it spitting my dummy out then Ok? MJ78 we are in the process for statement.

This lady has every right to voice her concerns. It's her son and if she sees fit to have her child at a particular school, then that's her right. This lady knows her son better than anyone, tutors included.

She's picking the place that her son will spend the next few years under care and guidance. It's not liking choosing a different fish and chip shop ....... No two are alike, so leave her be.

I realised that once I'd read the article properly. I just replied as I know exactly what you are going thru. Do you go to any support groups ? Are you aware their is a specialised autistic school currently being built in oldham. It is scheduled to open next school year. Although we opted for Diggle school due to low class size and their experience with autism we have asked to be added to the viewing list.

Some of the comments made by other parents of autistic kids made me feel ill. Just because something is working for their child does not mean it works for this lady's. They should be the very parents/people who should understand her decision, not criticise her! Every child is different and this woman knows her son best. She is not saying the school is not good, just that its not suitable for her sons needs. Please be more understanding - it could have been your child in this situation!

I have2 children in Buckstones and one who has just moved up to high school, and it has been brilliant for us, I can understand and sympathise what your saying and your decisions, my eldest initially started 2 other schools which I just couldn't relax and felt my child wasnt getting anywhere as my friends loved the school, I wasn't happy, but I am in Bucktones, and I can keep saying how good it is but if you are not comfy and happy with it I will stick with your head and do what is right for you


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