A MUM-of-four has been forced to quit her job to look after her seven-year-old son as the council hasn't found him a school place.
Little Nicholas Bailey was excluded before the summer break but three weeks into the new term and he is still without a spot.
The youngster is reportedly already behind his peers – unable to write his own name in full – thanks to suspected ADHD and Covid lockdowns.
But now mum Kellie Lees fears it will be even harder for him to catch up thanks to the exclusion and fresh delays.
The 35-year-old, from Longton, Staffordshire, told StokeOnTrentLive: "He's at least a year behind and now he's missing out on the start of year three. He deserves better.
"He can't even write his full name properly or read properly. He needs to be in education.
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"He's had more than 10 weeks off school and hasn't learnt anything after a disruptive year. We were also in lockdown the year before that."
Kellie has had to stop working as a carer as she has nobody to look after Nicholas when he should be in class.
And she is growing more and more frustrated the longer she has to wait, as are her three other children.
"Now he thinks he doesn't have to go to school because he hasn't been for so long, and his siblings are thinking, if he doesn't go, why should they?," Kellie added.
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Nicholas was excluded from Co-op Academy Clarice Cliff in Fenton over behaviour issues three weeks before the end of term in July.
But his education had been disrupted since the beginning of the school year, with his days halved then reduced to one hour before being permanently excluded.
Kellie believes her son has ADHD and has been calling for him to be tested since he started nursery – but she was repeatedly told to wait until he turned seven.
Now Nicholas has reached the required age, he is finally being examined.
"I have four children, Nicholas is the youngest, and I can see the differences in him compared to my other children," Kellie said.
"He doesn't sit still, he's constantly on the move, and the only time he's quiet is when he's asleep.
"He doesn't like being told 'no', but the school kept telling him 'no' so he was permanently excluded."
He can't even write his full name properly or read properly. He needs to be in education.
It is understood Stoke-on-Trent City Council is now trying to get Nicholas a place at Kaleidoscope in Wolstanton – a school for children with additional needs.
But a spokesperson for the local authority said: "We do not comment on individual cases."
Co-op Academy Clarice Cliff headteacher Diane Broadhurst said: "Excluding a student is a very rare and heart-breaking decision for any school to make, especially in this case where a child has been with us since nursery.
"However, after a long process of trying to give him the support that he needs and consulting with multiple external agencies, specialists, professionals and the local authority, and implementing their advice, it was decided that Clarice Cliff could not meet his learning needs, nor could we ensure his safety at school.
"We appreciate that this has been a really difficult and frustrating process, and the family have been keen for him to be assessed.
"We therefore referred him for the appropriate tests with in addition to completing our own assessments to support his learning as Nicholas deserves an education that meets his individual needs.
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"Knowing that the local authority has not been able to find him a place is understandably very frustrating for him and his parents, and really upsetting for us as we wanted to help him find a setting in which he could thrive.
"We are doing everything we can to support the family, and advocate for them with the local authority to find him a place."
What is ADHD?
ADHD – or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder – is one of the most common childhood conditions.
It can be categorised into two types of behavioural problems – inattentiveness and hyperactivity.
While most people show symptoms of both of these manners, this isn’t always the case.
According to the NHS, symptoms can include:
- Having a short attention span and being easily distracted
- Making careless mistakes – for example, in schoolwork
- Appearing forgetful or losing things
- Being unable to stick at tasks that are tedious or time-consuming
- Appearing to be unable to listen to or carry out instructions
- Constantly changing activity or task
- Having difficulty organising tasks
- Hyperactivity and impulsiveness
- Being unable to sit still, especially in calm or quiet surroundings
- Constantly fidgeting
- Being unable to concentrate on tasks
- Excessive physical movement
- Excessive talking
- Acting without thinking
- Interrupting conversations
- Little or no sense of danger
- Mood swings, irritability and a quick temper
The exact cause is yet to be fully identified, but it is understood to run in families.
Diagnosis must come from a specialist assessment, and both medication and therapy can be used as treatment.
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