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Strood mum told ‘not enough staff’ at Abbey Court School, leaving her SEN son without a place

A mum who was promised her child would get a place in a special needs school has been told there are not enough staff and he’ll have to wait until September.

It means five-year-old Louie, who has multiple profound learning difficulties including autism, will have been without a place in formal education for a year.

Louie, aged five, just wants to go to school
Louie, aged five, just wants to go to school

Mum Kelly Smith said the delay has impacted her youngest son “terribly” and she feels he has been “going backwards rather than forwards”.

The 39-year-old said: “It’s breaking my heart. We are being kept in the dark.

“We have not been given any firm answers.

“I am so upset and angry.

“My little boy deserves to go to school like every other child.”

Louie, who was born four months premature, has been officially statemented with an education, health and care plan (EHCP) as a child who has complex needs.

He has a form of cerebral palsy, Autism Spectrum Disorder(ASD), global development delay and is nonverbal.

His parents applied for Abbey Court School in Strood and Danecourt School in Gillingham but were told neither had a place for him to start school after he finished nursery in September last year.

They were then overjoyed when they were told Abbey Court would be opening a new class and he could enrol after the Easter break this year.

Abbey Court School in Strood. Picture: Google
Abbey Court School in Strood. Picture: Google

But then “out of the blue” they received a message from his SEN (special educational needs) officer saying there was not enough staff to take on the extra pupils.

Kelly, who lives in Woodstock Road, Strood, said: “Louie needs interaction with other children to develop his social skills.

“He had got used to being with other children when he was in nursery, but now I feel he is going backwards rather than forwards.

Five-year-old Louie has multiple profound learning difficulties
Five-year-old Louie has multiple profound learning difficulties

“This is so unfair. If he was a normal child and I wasn’t sending him to school, it would be different then.

“I would be fined and even possibly sent to prison.”

They have now been informed there might be room for Louie to join Abbeycourt in September.

But, as Kelly said: “It’s all very much still up in the air.”

Abbey Court School has been approached for comment.

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