Mum of excluded Asperger's sufferer says school is failing her
A YOUNG Asperger's sufferer who has been excluded from her classes at St Martin's School in Hutton is being failed by the education system, her mother claims.
Paris Alexander, a Year 8 pupil, has frequently been in trouble at the Hanging Hill Lane school since the specialist support she received was not continued in September.
The 13-year-old, who has been given a level 4 statement of special needs, is on a reduced timetable of two lessons a day until her behaviour improves.
Her most recent run-in with the school occurred on December 18, when she was excluded for three days for rudeness to teachers.
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Her mother Sarah, of Hutton, has now decided to keep her daughter from school until she is convinced Paris will not find herself in trouble again.
She is, however, adamant that this will be not happen if the specialist support is reinstated.
This academic year, since September, Paris has been excluded five times and now faces the threat of being permanently removed from the school.
Ms Alexander, who has another daughter in the sixth form at St Martin's, said: "Paris was given a specialist teacher last year to support her way through lessons. She was doing fine when she had that support. However, that support was withdrawn and Paris has really struggled since."
The latest episode occurred when Paris returned to school, but could not rejoin mainstream classes until staff had a meeting with her mother.
Paris was told she had to work in the specialist educational needs (SEN) classroom, which led to an argument with staff.
Ms Alexander said: "St Martin's is too much about A* students. If you are a good student then students can excel. My other daughter is in the sixth form and she is doing fine. But star students don't make a school by themselves."
She added: "Treating Paris like this is not going to help her. She cannot cope with change."
In a letter to chairman of governors Chris Plume, she wrote: "Although you have urged me to send Paris back to St Martin's, I would like to stress the responsibilities as a parent and guardian of her safeguarding and well being.
"St Martin's I feel is inadequate in this area.
"If I were to send Paris back, what guarantees could you give me that Paris would be given adequate support and that she would not be excluded again for her disability?"
In response, Mr Plume wrote: "I strongly disagree that there are deficiencies with regard to your daughter's safeguarding or wellbeing.
"The discussions around Paris' exclusion are centred around her behaviour and not any disability, although I believe that full account has been taken of her condition. I would again urge you to consider enabling Paris to resume her education."
Figures from February 2012 show that 76 per cent of pupils at St Martin's School gained five or more GCSEs at A* to C, including English and maths.
However, none of those starting "behind for their age" achieved five good GCSEs in Year 11.
Head teacher Mike O'Sullivan said: "St Martin's is a very inclusive school that has an excellent SEN department. It would be inappropriate to comment on individual cases but occasionally the school's best for those with complex needs is not as good as specialist schools.
"Therefore when places become available in these schools it is sometimes better to transfer to receive the provision appropriate for their needs."