Where will Warminster son go?
12:00pm Saturday 9th August 2014 in By Joanne Moore
Mum Joanne Gifford is in despair: her seven-year-old autistic son has been rejected by three primary schools and she is not sure what the future holds for him in September.
The Warminster mother is dreading the start of the new school year, when he will have to return to a special unit at The Manor School, Melksham, even though the head has said they are unable to cope with him.
She said: “I have been told by Wiltshire Council that there is not a suitable school for Jacob in the county and I am not prepared to let him board when he is just seven.
“He needs a school where his behaviour can be managed, but I am being made to feel as if it is my fault.
“I know Jacob can be violent when he gets upset. He has kicked out and thrown furniture around and sometimes he gets undressed. He also swears when he gets angry. But his behaviour is much better at home than it is at school.
“I feel there must be experts that can help contain his behaviour.
“He is very bright and because he does not have learning difficulties there does not seem to be anywhere for him to go.”
Jacob went to Stepping Stones opportunity nursery in Trowbridge before starting school at The Avenue, Warminster. But despite being only five the school could not cope with his behaviour.
He moved to The Minster, Warminster, where both Ms Gifford, and her son were much happier, but after only a few months the school said they did not have staff trained to deal with Jacob.
Last year he moved to a special unit at The Manor, but again the school said they were unable to cope and a meeting was called with Wiltshire Council.
It ruled that The Manor would have to take Jacob back in September, but Ms Gifford is worried about what will happen. A Wiltshire Council spokesman said: “We always work with pupils and parents/carers to make the best decisions for the individual, and we are do absolutely everything we can to ensure young people get the best possible education and support.
“If parents/carers are unhappy with these decisions, we would encourage them to talk to us about it."
Ms Gifford has now decided to set up her own youth club in Warminster for children with special needs.
The first meeting will be on Friday, August 15 at Warminster Baptist Church from 6pm to 7.30pm.
She hopes it will be an opportunity for parents to share stories and support each other as well as be a safe environment for children aged up to 11 to socialise.
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