Council bid to remove autistic boy, 11, from the school he loves risks sentencing him to ‘a life on the wrong side of the law’
- Credit: Anne Davison
A Gorleston mum is fighting a local authority bid to remove her autistic son from the school he loves and place him in a new one being built in Norwich.
Anne Davison, of Horsely Drive, says the impact on 11-year-old Adam could be catastrophic and result in her quitting work to teach him at home.
Adam suffers from Aspergers, ADHD and OCD and has struggled in mainstream education, where although super-bright he was difficult to manage, throwing chairs and hiding under tables.
However since joining St Andrews School for children with complex needs in Aylmerton, near Cromer, he has blossomed, made friends, and loves learning.
Mrs Davison and her husband Rob say Norfolk County Council's proposal to move him to The Wherry, a new special school taking shape in Norwich, would destroy him and the couple are determined to block it.
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She tagged as 'absurd and unreasonable' the bid to move her son when places for special schools were at a premium and her son was happy where he was.
She said: 'If this goes ahead it will be desperately upsetting. Our argument is why would you want to disrupt a young child with autism who is settled and move him to a different school?
'It has been a long and rocky road but life is settled now. There are children in mainstream schools that are crying out for complex needs places, so why upset one that is already in one? This is all down to funding and it is wrong.'
She said the saga dated back to the beginning of the year and the family had no option but to appeal at tribunal.
Under the county council's proposal Adam is due to start the new free school in September.
A Norfolk County Council spokesman said: 'The Wherry School is due to open in Norwich in September and when it does, will provide the most modern facilities in this county for children with complex needs, specifically those with Autistic Spectrum Disorder.
'We strongly believe that this is the best school for Adam and will also reduce his travel time to and from school.
'We have explained clearly to the family the reasons why we believe this is the best placement and have let them know how they can raise any concerns.
'We have a duty to provide all parents with access to mediation and ultimately parents can appeal.'
Moving him could 'hamper life chances'
A decision to move Adam could be sentencing him to 'a life on the wrong side of the law' according to his former headteacher.
In a statement prepared ahead of the hearing Martin Scott, the former head at Peterhouse Primary School in Gorleston, said he should remain in his current school where he has been 'so successful.'
He said Adam's 'outbursts' got worse and regularly resulted in the classroom having to be evacuated as a result of his 'literally ransacking' the classroom and throwing things at other students and his teachers.
Staff were occasionally injured during these outbursts, he added.
The statement goes on: 'Adam, when in an environment that suits his needs, is a calm, caring and lovely boy...To now suggest the removal of Adam from his environment would be to undo the years of hard work and forward progress he has made and would ultimately hamper his life chances.'
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