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(UK) Belfast autistic 8 yr old left without school place; he's 'too vulnerable' for mainstream

June 28, 2019, (UK) Belfast Live: Shankill mum says autistic son and others have been 'failed by Education Authority' A West Belfast mum says her son and others have been 'failed' by the Education Authority after being left with no school to attend in September. Eight-year-old Presley Rountree is autistic and has been diagnosed with a global developmental delay but after five years at Oakwood Special School, his mum says he has now been left without a school place for the coming year…. Speaking to Belfast Live, Michelle says she is now facing having to home-school her son as he is 'too vulnerable' to attend a mainstream school which is the only place he has been offered. "I had been in touch with them [Education Authority] for weeks and weeks and weeks and was told no decision had been made and when I finally got through on 10th June they said they couldn't find an application for either Cedar Lodge or Harberton and those were the two schools the Education Authority told us he was eligible for. "All they said they had was a place for him in a mainstream school which firstly isn't even in our area and it's also not suitable for Presley as he is far too vulnerable a child to be in a mainstream school. … The mum-of-two said her son made great progress whilst at Oakwood but says her son's complex needs mean he would be left behind in a mainstream school…. "Presley isn't the only child who has been left in this situation I know of other parents with kids who attended Oakwood who have been left without places too, it's unfair, these kids have been failed by Education Authority." "I've been contacting them repeatedly and have been getting no response, my local MP Nichola Mallon also made contact with them too and she has got no response either." SDLP MP Nichola Mallon said the lack of a functioning executive or minister isn't helping matters. She told Belfast Live: "I've seen an increase in the number of parents who have contacted me who can't get their children places and who are also struggling to get their children the support that they need. "It seems that year on year this situation is getting worse. The Education Authority needs to significantly improve the way it communicates, particularly with parents and with schools but we need a Minister, an Executive and an Assembly back to deal with these issues….


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