Published: 00:00, 15 November 2001 |
Updated: 12:48, 15 November 2001
A KENT school has been ordered to accept an autistic boy even though its specialist unit is full. An education tribunal has ruled that The Abbey School at Faversham must find 14-year-old Jonathan Green a place.
The school had been breaking the law by refusing to admit the teenager because its popular autistic centre already has 16 pupils, the maximum number it can cope with.
But now the Department for Education and Skills has told chairman of governors Lesley Temple that she and the rest of the governing body had "an unqualified duty" to admit the teenager. She has been told she must confirm by the weekend that a place had been found for him.
It is understood that if head teacher Peter Walker bowed to pressure and gave Jonathan a place, he could face a backlash from staff and the parents of children already at the school.
Jonathan's father, Eliott, Green, said he was delighted the DFES had confirmed what an earlier industrial tribunal had ruled. "It makes Jonathan's position very clear. The Abbey School is breaking the law by not admitting him. But at the end of the day I won't be happy until I see Jonathan in the unit. I would like to see him there on Monday morning," he said.
At the moment the 14-year-old, from Walderslade, is a pupil at the specialist speech and language unit at Upbury Manor School, Gillingham. The unit is not specifically designed for autistic children.
Mr Green said: "There is no provision for autistic children of secondary school age in Medway. The nearest specialist units are at Axton Chase, near Gravesend, and at The Abbey." But the teenager is so unhappy at Upbury Manor his parents are keeping him at home.
Mr Green said: "Jonathan is a very bright and highly functioning autistic child but he does need a very structured and safe setting, which his present school is not providing. He had been doing really well academically and was on target for some GCSEs which is quite something." Medway council will fund Jonathan's place at The Abbey and is providing him with home tuition until the question of his schooling is resolved.
A county council official said Kent LEA was liasing with governors at the Faversham school "with a view to resolving the situation as soon as possible."
Every morning at 10am we play you an hour of tunes from the 90s. We call it, #WeLoveThe90s.
Play 'Say It' with Garry and Laura on kmfm Breakfast and you could win £1,000!
Wake up to kmfm Breakfast with Garry and Laura - it's Kent's alarm call.
A guide for your future. For year 11 students in Kent and Medway. Click here for the e-edition.
Education, Training & Childcare is a special supplement published by KM Media Group four times a year. Click here for latest e-edition.
This is a brand new online resource covering every aspect of owning and improving a home in Kent and Medway.
Get the latest food and drink news, recipes from some of the nation's top chefs plus updates from Kent's vineyards and breweries.
Search in your local area to find your perfect partner in Kent, with FreshStart Dating! PLUS, register for free!.
Neil Miller, Hever Castle head gardener is new gardening blogger.
Buy pictures that you've seen in a KM newspaper, or send in a picture and we will place it on our photo sales website so that you can purchase a super, unique gift.