Parents' upset over Sittingbourne school's treatment of son with memory loss
by Hayley Robinson
The parents of a teenager who suffers from short-term memory
loss have criticised school staff for not being more understanding
about his condition.
In the last week alone Owen Nolan has received two detentions
for failing to remember to take equipment such as pens and pencils
to lessons at Fulston Manor.
But since undergoing an operation on his 11th birthday in April
2010 to remove a benign brain tumour, the 14-year-old finds it
difficult to remember things.
As a result of the surgery he is also deaf in his left ear, has
double and tunnel vision, difficulties with his balance and
co-ordination and often gets frustrated and angry because he
struggles to do more than one thing at any given time.
Mum Samantha says she and her husband Luke have spoken to staff
about his medical condition.
The school has also been sent numerous letters from consultants
and doctors at King’s College Hospital in London explaining the
difficulties the Year 9 pupil faces.
The 30-year-old mum of four, of Oad Street, Borden, said: “The
doctors said it would take a good couple of years until the brain
settles down, then we would notice things like his memory getting
bad or possibly epileptic fits.
“It’s the memory loss that’s coming out. The frontal lobe is
where your memories are and Owen’s was under so much pressure from
the tumour at the back of his head that it damaged it.
displaying symptoms of short-term memory loss from the start but
it’s got worse lately.
“He has had four detentions in a week in the past for forgetting
“He was due to have a detention on September 27 but Luke rang up
and said Owen wasn’t doing it.
Since then his head of year has said she will give him a pencil
case to keep in her office so if he forgets [his pens or pencils]
he can get one from there.
“Sometimes he’ll kiss me three times before he goes to bed at
night because he can’t remember kissing me or he won’t remember
doing something [when he’s at home]. We just want the school to be
a bit more understanding.”
Head teacher Alan Brookes explained how each pupil has a
responsibility card they carry round with them on the school
To get a detention the child would have to have five signatures
from teaching staff on it for not doing certain things such as
forgetting equipment for lessons, punctuality and uniform.
He said: “We are well aware of Owen’s condition.
“The school recently received a letter from King’s College
Hospital and an email was sent out to all staff on September 20
outlining Owen’s difficulties.
“It also advises staff to make certain allowances, such as
sitting him at the front of the class with the teacher to his right
and being patient with him if he forgets things or fails to recall
“We want Owen to reach his full potential so while we do make
allowances for him we don’t want to make so many that he is likely
“If Mr and Mrs Nolan would like to speak in person they are
welcome to make an appointment with me.”
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