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(UK) Suffolk: 8yo with ADHD, ODD denied school place'; mother 'at her wits' end'


Feb 26, 2024, Suffolk News: Suffolk mum ‘at her wits’ end’ says her son has only ever had one full year of primary school

E. England


A mother has opened up about her fears for the future of her son who has additional needs.

Suffolk parent Sarah (not her real name), from the Babergh area, got in contact with SuffolkNews as she was ‘at her wits’ end’, desperately trying to find help for her son and ‘no one will listen’.


Her eight-year-old son Tom (not his real name) has only ever completed one full year of primary school since starting schooling in 2020 due to his behavioural and emotional needs, she said.


He has been permanently excluded from two primary schools, and due to continuous ‘let downs’ from schooling their home life has drastically been tested on a number of occasions, Sarah said.


Sarah says one particularly difficult period, after he had been permanently excluded from school, caused her to have a breakdown and Tom was placed in care.


He has been back at home full time for a year now and currently goes to a setting in West Suffolk, which provides temporary placements, where he has ‘absolutely thrived’.

However Sarah, who was forced to leave her job due to Tom’s needs, believes longer term he needs to be placed in a specialist boarding school.
She says she has had to ‘fight tooth and nail’ to get Tom’s EHCP (education, health and care plan) draft, which she recently received after a ‘long wait and battle’. . . . 

“He has no chance in life. He hasn’t. If he doesn’t get the help he needs he will either end up in prison or end up dead or in the wrong crowd.


“It’s awful and no matter how much parents scream for help it’s like we are just a number to them. They really do not care because they do not have to live it. They don’t have to live my home life.”


She added: “I have got zero hope in any of the systems any more.”


Even before starting school, which was in another county, he had issues at nursery, his mum said, but it wasn’t until 2022 that he got diagnosed.


Tom has ADHD (Attention Deficit Disorder) and ODD (Oppositional Defiance Disorder).


Sarah feels her own parenting skills and/or mental health had been wrongly blamed for Tom’s difficulties.


Speaking of his time at primary school, said: “He has a terrible relationship with school all together because of how he was treated and how he was spoken to and when he got to Year 1 he was continuously being excluded and I was always getting called up to the school.”


At one point he was only allowed in school for one hour per day, she said.


She said his last primary school had assured her they could meet his needs, but again ‘it was exclusion after exclusion after exclusion’. . . . 


In terms of why Sarah wanted us to cover their story, she said: “I will do anything to get help and people to actually listen. I know there’s multiple parents out there who need help and don’t get it.”


She wants those who are suffering in silence feeling they are the only ones going through this – like she used to – to know they are not alone and can also fight the system.


A spokesperson for Suffolk County Council, the local education authority, said: “Working with schools and NHS colleagues, we do everything we can to agree a suitable placement with the child and family.”


SEND (special educational needs and/or disabilities) services in Suffolk recently came in for strong criticism from education and health watchdogs.


The report by Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission found ‘widespread and/or systematic failings’ leading to ‘significant concerns’ about the experiences and outcomes of children and young people with SEND in Suffolk.



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