Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 23 December 2014

'Naughtiest' boy expulsion slammed

Harry Reid, five, has been expelled from St Ambrose Barlow Catholic School in Hall Green, Birmingham
Harry Reid, five, has been expelled from St Ambrose Barlow Catholic School in Hall Green, Birmingham

A five-year-old boy has been expelled from a school after the headteacher branded him the "naughtiest" boy she had ever met, his mother claims.

Harry Reid was sent home after a "number of very serious incidents", his school said.

One of the incidents allegedly involved him pushing another pupil into a bookcase.

Harry has now been expelled from St Ambrose Barlow Catholic School in Hall Green, Birmingham.

However, his mother has criticised the move and claims the school ignored her pleas for extra support.

Debbie Reid told the Birmingham Mail that Harry had thrown items around the classroom and kicked out at other children.

But the 34-year-old said the school had ignored a letter from her son's doctor explaining that her son was on the autistic and ADHD spectrum.

She said: "He's been out of school for two weeks now and he's only had seven pieces of work sent home. It's disgusting. They've kicked him out and given up on him.

"He is a really caring, loving child. But the headteacher told me he was the naughtiest boy she had ever met."

A spokesperson for St Ambrose Barlow Catholic School said: "The decision to exclude a child from school is not taken lightly and is only ever an absolute last resort.

"The school has done everything they could to support the child; however, there have been a number of very serious incidents and the welfare of this child has to be balanced with that of fellow pupils and staff.

"We are now working with all parties to find the most appropriate environment that will meet the future needs of the child."

The National Autistic Society said schools should provide tailored support for pupils with autism and that exclusions should only be considered as an "absolute last resort".

Mark Lever, chief executive of the National Autistic Society, said: "For some people with autism, the world can sometimes be a confusing and frightening place which can cause them to display challenging behaviour as a way of communicating that something is wrong and that they need extra support.

"Autism is a spectrum condition so, while all people with the disability share certain areas of difficulty, their condition will affect them in different ways.

"It's essential that all children with autism get individually tailored support at school. Formal exclusion should only ever be considered as an absolute last resort and, when it does happen, it should be a trigger for a reassessment of a pupil's support. With the right support at the right time, people with the disability can reach their full potential."

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