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'He feels like no one wants him': Mother's anger after son with special needs is expelled

PUBLISHED: 13:33 10 December 2019 | UPDATED: 14:19 10 December 2019

The Groom family from Brancaster Staithe (from left) Chloe, dad Ricky, mum Patricia, Hagen, Jenson and Brooke. Picture: C/O Patricia Groom

The Groom family from Brancaster Staithe (from left) Chloe, dad Ricky, mum Patricia, Hagen, Jenson and Brooke. Picture: C/O Patricia Groom

C/O Patricia Groom

A Norfolk boy with special needs is facing starting the new year without a school place.

Nine-year-old Hagen Groom, who suffers from global developmental delay, was a pupil at Brancaster Primary School until he was expelled last month following a behaviour incident.

His mother Patricia Groom is worried that as well as missing out on much needed educational help her son is losing opportunities to socialise and be with his friends.

Hagen - who lives in Brancaster Staithe with his mum, dad Ricky and three siblings - has an education, health and care plan (EHCP) and his family feels he needs a place in a specialist school.

Norfolk County Council said it was in contact with several schools to find Hagen a new place while the case is also being discussed by school governors.

Mrs Groom, 36, said the expulsion had left Hagen feeling "like no one wants him".

"It breaks my heart," she said.

"It is like he does not exist anymore. No one should feel like that, especially a child with special educational needs who already feels excluded and unwanted."

Mrs Groom said Hagen had previously been suspended and was taken off a school residential trip earlier in the year before he was expelled for being "verbally and physically aggressive".

She said: "I get that the school had to take into account the other children, but at the same time my child deserves an education too.

"Living with a child with special needs is really difficult on a daily basis and people only see one side. They see this naughty child who lashes out but if you look at the need rather than the behaviour, that is the key."

When children are excluded the local authority steps in to find them a new school place - which could be in or out of the county, depending on where best suits their needs.

A Norfolk County Council spokesman said: "While we cannot comment on individual cases in detail, we have contacted several schools to see if they can provide a place for Hagen and we are awaiting their decisions.

"As a council we are investing £120m to create around 500 extra specialist school places across Norfolk, so that more children with specialist needs can be taught closer to their homes."

Gavin King, headteacher at Brancaster Primary School, said the family's case was currently being heard by school governors.

READ MORE: The Norfolk schools which expelled the most pupils in 2017/18

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