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(UK) Birmingham: 10-y-o with severe autism denied a place in special school

Nov 6, 2022, Birmingham Live: Mum begs council not to send son, 10, to mainstream school amid fears he will be 'bullied'

W. Midlands

A mum has been pleading with a council for months to not send her 10-year-old son, who has a mental age of three or four, to a mainstream secondary school. Nasreen Akhtar said her son, Ibraheem Rusheed, has been diagnosed with autism and was only out of nappies at the age of nine.

The single mum moved with her two children from Birmingham to Smethwick in 2017 and Ibraheem started at Uplands Manor Primary School. Now Ibraheem is in his last year at primary school, so Nasreen, a student nurse, has been asking Sandwell Council to place her son in a special needs secondary school since January. But she said the council has been saying her son has to go to the nearest school, which is mainstream. The worried mum is also concerned for her son's safety as she said he will want to go straight to the main road nearby as he is 'attracted to moving objects'.

Nasreen, 48, said: "In 2017 I moved to Sandwell from Birmingham, at the time he was five. I applied to Sandwell Council for a school, he was out of school for three months, it was a very slow process but they managed to put him in a mainstream school.

"Year after year I told them he's got delays, there's a lot of problems, he's not progressing like he should be progressing. His doctor is saying he needs a special school. Even his school said he needs a special school.

"He is 10, he only came out of nappies at the age of nine. Sandwell Council keeps saying he's happy where he is and he is progressing - but he's still working at the age of a three or four-year-old child.

"I've been sending emails from January this year and I keep being told they're going to have a meeting and tell me what he's entitled to. I've named eight special schools. It's very frustrating. This has gone on too long. He can talk about three words at a time. He's a very happy, healthy child but he needs that support."

The pleading mum also worries that her child will be bullied if he attends mainstream secondary school. She added: "If he goes to a mainstream he's going to get bullied by other children as he is very vulnerable. He's got no danger awareness as soon as he see things moving he's drawn to them. He wants to go to main roads and this school is very close. He will try to get to the main road as soon as he can.

"I've applied for the special needs schools as there's a lot of support offered. He has one-to-one support and I've spoken to three of his teaching assistants who said they don't know about autism and they've never supported a child with autism. I feel that he could do a lot better in a special school. He would flourish….

"I'm a third-year student nurse and I help people out day to day and I'm crying out for this help and it is not happening."

"The final decision on which school will be offered will be made in the coming weeks in line with the statutory guidance and will be communicated to Ms Akhtar, along with her rights to appeal if she is unhappy."

Nasreen Akhtar and her son Ibraheem Rusheed


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