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Gedney Drove End mum fears for autistic son after years of school issues

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A desperate mother says she is frightened for her autistic son’s future after being ‘failed’ by the county council over his schooling.

Maria Fitzjohn, who lives in Gedney Drove End, says that her son, Riley Haales (11), has not been to school ‘properly’ in three years and feels let down by what she feels is a lack of support from Lincolnshire County Council.

Maria, who is a full time carer for Riley, says that her son has not had access to ‘proper’ education in three years.

Riley Haales and Maria Fitzjohn (57945893)
Riley Haales and Maria Fitzjohn (57945893)

Up until November he had been a student at specialist secondary school Woodlands Academy in Spilsby but he began to feel unsafe.

She said: “He started coming home with bruises and marks on him and asked me why I was sending him to school where he was getting hurt.

“He had been attacked, he’d had his face slammed into the floor and by November I decided to pull him out of school.”

Prior to his time at Woodlands Academy, Riley had been attending another school but had only managed to stay for around 15 minutes a day as he found it very difficult.

Maria has reached the end of her tether and is desperate to access appropriate schooling for Riley.

She said: “My little boy wants to go to school but no one will help us.

“He gets two hours schooling a week but that’s not enough. We’ve not actually heard anything on that for three weeks - he hasn’t been given any work in that time even though I keep asking for it.

“Thirty thousand pounds of funding is allocated for his schooling so where is that going? I can’t go to work at the moment so I am living on a carer’s allowance of £67 a week. It isn’t even enough to cover the electric.”

Maria says that Riley is set to look at a placement next week but is still concerned that he will struggle to get on.

She said: “The council have been in contact with me and we are looking at a school on Monday.

“I’m frightened that we will end up in the same place. Riley is petrified and he has no trust any more after what has happened.

“It’s awful.”

The county council says it is working with the family and hopes to have Riley settled in school by the start of the autumn term.

Martin Smith, Lincolnshire County Council’s assistant director for education, said: “We’re working with the family to find a suitable school place for Riley and are making positive progress.

“We expect to have the matter resolved by the start of the autumn term.

“Lincolnshire, like all other areas of the country, are seeing increasing demand for special school places.

“In light of that, the council is investing £86million in local special schools over the next few years, which will create hundreds of additional places.”

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