Memories

Tonight I was told the head teacher of the local village school that refused to take Evan as a 5 year old is retiring.

I always said I would write to her when Evan was successful to tell her how wrong she was.

We had spoken on the phone and confirmed there was a place in Reception class.

I contacted the Local authority, advised them I wished to change schools and asked them to send Evans paperwork over to the new school.

Evan was already diagnosed with autism and had a statement of SEN in place funding 1-1 support.

Several days later the Education officer phoned me and said that the school I had named felt they were unable to offer Evan a place.

I didn’t understand.

He went on to say that this was disability discrimination and we could MAKE the school take him.

I requested a copy of the letter the school had sent to the Local Authority stating the reasons they felt unable to offer Evan a place.

Reluctantly he agreed to send it to me .

I will never forget the day the letter arrived.

There were two pages of reasons why the school and its governors did not want my 5 year old son

Most of the reasons were based on an ill informed, pre conceived idea of what autism was. None of the reasons stated were valid

All were disability discrimination and not meant for me to see.

I was absolutely devastated.

The only reason I had wanted to change schools in the first place was because Evan was being failed. He was so quiet in class his needs were being ignored,his school were using his 1-1 hours to support children struggling with numeracy and literacy, in the mean time Evan was silently drowning.

That head teacher probably doesn’t even remember my sons name and may well be oblivious that her actions had such life changing consequences.

As a parent I will never forget.

I told the education officer that I would never allow my child to go anywhere he wasn’t wanted.

This was my first real taste of how life was going to be for Evan, it terrified and disgusted me in equal measure.

I want that head teacher to know that the little boy she and her governors chose to reject is now 13 and an absolute credit. He is polite,kind,disciplined and dedicated.He is a competitive swimmer training 7 days a week who may well go on to swim in the para olympics.

Enjoy your retirement.

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