Mother confronts minister over autistic daughter’s schooling

The BBC is reporting that the mother of an autistic girl has confronted Scotland’s education secretary about how her daughter was treated in school.

Marie Gillam said her daughter Jessica had been left dirty after she was not given assistance using the toilet.

During a BBC Radio Scotland phone-in, she told John Swinney that children with additional support needs were “really being failed”.

Mr Swinney said the circumstances as described were “totally unacceptable”.

The city council in Edinburgh, where Jessica was at school, said it took the concerns raised “very seriously” and was investigating them.

Mr Swinney was taking part in a BBC Radio Scotland phone-in about education, fielding questions on topics including assessments for P1 pupils and teacher recruitment.

Mrs Gillam told the minister that she had had to start home-schooling her daughter Jessica, who was diagnosed as autistic aged two, because “she really couldn’t cope in mainstream school whatsoever”.

She said: “She had a learning assistant because she can’t get dressed or undressed herself, she can’t go to the toilet unaided or clean herself.

“On one particular day her learning assistant wasn’t around so they asked her 10-year-old twin sister to take her to the toilet and help.”

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