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(UK) Leicester: Boy with ASD out of school more than a year; system 'so broken'

Aug 2, 2022, Leicester Mercury: Sam Bailey reveals she's been 'stuck at home' for a year as she struggles to get son into school
Leicester’s X-Factor winner Sam Bailey has said the education system is “so broken” after revealing her son has been out of school for more than a year.

Sam, who won the ITV show in 2013, made the revelation during an appearance on Loose Women yesterday (August 1). The situation is so bad that she said she’d been “stuck at home” with her son Tommy since last July, reports the Mirror. The emotional interview saw Sam reveal how she’d been fighting for the past 12 months to get Tommy back into education. He was diagnosed with both autism and dyspraxia in 2020 after Sam and husband Craig Pearson had noticed he was “different” to other children.

Since then, he’s been taken out of school because provisions weren’t in place to meet with his needs - a situation that Sam says had made for a hard year. She said: "He’s been off school since July last year, so no school.

"He’s been living at home in his pyjamas for a year with hardly any education,” she told fellow Loose Women panellists Ruth Langsford, Gloria Hunniford, Brenda Edwards and Jane Moore.

The struggles have been made worse as Sam has continued to get Tommy a place in a specialist school, but she said there weren’t enough of these schools around. She said: “The year that I’ve had, the system is so broken.

“Because he’s autistic he can’t go to a mainstream school because they can’t meet his needs. I was stuck with him at home because they wouldn’t give me the funding for him to go to a special school,” she continued.

“I’ve been on the phone, emails, I’ve gone through six case managers. I’ve talked to MPs and I’ve talked to parents. There are so many people out there that are doing the same as me, struggling.”

Saying she had “banged tables” to get change, Sam said there was a need for more specialist schools to help children such as Tommy right across the UK. She said: "Children are at home because they can't go to school, there's not enough schools. I’ve fought, I’ve banged tables and not everybody can do this."

Sam was speaking on ITV's Loose Women(Image: ITV)


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