Mum of disabled Sheffield boy in desperate plea to get him a special school place

A Sheffield boy with special educational needs who is finding mainstream school impossible to cope with is in desperate need of a place at a special school - but may have to wait an entire school year to get one, his mum says.

Monday, 21st October 2019, 12:06 pm
Updated Thursday, 24th October 2019, 7:09 pm
Jake Bedford.

Jake Bedford, aged five, from Southey, was born with fluid on his brain, began having seizures at eight months old and was later diagnosed with epilepsy.

When he started in Reception at Southey Green school in 2018, he was given one-to-one support and - according to mum Fiona Hunt - was thriving.

However, when he started in Year 1 last month, this intensive support was taken away as the school couldn’t fund it, and Jake’s behaviour at both home and school has since become unmanageable.

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Single-mum Fiona, 34, says Jake - who is also suspected to have autism - is not really communicating with her or his grandparents any more, and is also having more ‘blank seizures’, which require three members of staff to control.

“All he is doing is making noises and he doesn’t want to go to school,” she said.

“He can’t play and he doesn’t understand like other children. But if I take him out of school I would be in the wrong.

“His behaviour has become absolutely horrendous at home with me. He hits me and spits at me.”

Fiona has recently recovered from cancer and also struggles with her mental health, something which is made worse by both Jake’s behaviour and his struggles at school.

According to Fiona, at a recent meeting Jake’s teachers told her they were open to him staying back a year, but the school’s headmaster said that wasn’t an option.

She is now worried that Jake may have to wait for a year to get a place at a special school, and that is only if he is accepted at one.

She said: “There are 32 children in Jake’s class, how can one teacher and a teaching assistant cope with all that? When he has seizures he needs three people to help him. It is not fair on the other children or the teachers or my son.”

To publicise her campaign, Fiona has set up a petition demanding Jake gets the help he needs at www.change.org/p/southey-green-primary-school-jake-needs-your-support.

Councillor Abtisam Mohamed, cabinet member for education and skills, said: “The council does everything it can to work with families and children to ensure they have access to the right levels of care and support.

“We are sorry to hear about the issues being faced by this family and are determined to help them.

“A decision has been made to issue an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) and an Inclusion Officer is working with the family on this to establish the next steps and most appropriate support.”