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.”
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