The mother of an autistic seven-year-old with the academic ability of a child twice his age is fighting cost-cutting plans to move him to a special school. This is from the Daily Mail…
Christian Farrington, who has high-functioning autism and an IQ of 168, taught himself to read at 18-months-old.
Experts have said he has a remarkable photographic memory and the academic ability of a 15 year-old.
But he can struggle with some social situations and has mixed developmental disorders and associated emotional issues.
He has a one-to-one assistant at his primary school who helps him deal with social situations such as loud environments and busy classes.
But the local authority now wants to move him to a special school for children with learning difficulties.
The decision came after his present school applied for more money to pay for a second assistant.
Education chiefs turned down the request and said Christian should stay at his current school.
When the school applied a second time the authority changed their minds and said he had to move.
His mother Gabrielle Pakpourtabrizi, 25, said he is thriving at his present school and the cost-cutting decision will see his progress and rare talents wasted.
She has launched tribunal proceedings against Cambridgeshire County Council.
‘Taking him out of the school he loves and putting him in a special needs school will pull the carpet from underneath him and completely ruin him,’ she said.
‘He will not be intellectually stimulated there.
‘I will be willing to back a change, but only if it is the correct one for my son. There are specialist schools I would be happy for Christian to attend.
‘What he’s achieving at his current primary school is priceless.
‘He has surpassed everyone’s expectations and no child deserves to be taken away from a school that is working for them.’
…Christian is currently at St John’s Community Primary School, in Ely, Cambridgeshire, but the local education authority wants to move him to Gretton School, in Girton.
…A spokesman for Cambridgeshire County Council said: ‘It is agreed that Christian requires specialist provision.
‘The county council has identified an independent special school in the county which can meet his needs, but his parents have not accepted this.
‘They have identified an alternative school, but due to its distance from his home, Christian would have to be a weekly boarder. We feel this is inappropriate for a seven year-old.
‘His parents disagree and have lodged an appeal, which they are entitled to do.
‘However, until the appeal process reaches a conclusion, the county council is responsible for providing Christian with an education.
‘In the meantime, we have offered alternative education, which can be arranged for whenever it becomes detrimental for Christian to continue attending a school which cannot meet his needs.
‘If his parents and the school agree, Christian can continue attending Ely St John’s. We therefore expect him to return there in September.
‘However, all parties understand that this is a short-term arrangement until the outcome of the appeal is known.’
Ely St John’s Community Primary School declined to comment.
Your thoughts please on the principles involved here? In a similar situation, what do you think the right course of action should be? Please share in the comments or on twitter…