Derbyshire mum accuses school of discrimination after ‘excluding’ son from trip due to his ADHD
A mum says her son was ‘excluded’ from a primary school trip due to his ADHD – meaning he very nearly missed out until family members stepped in to chaperone.
Amy Cotton, 32, accused Immaculate Conception Catholic Primary School in Spinkhill of discrimation after it ruled her six-year-old son could not join a trip to The Deep less than 24 hours before he was due to go.
Ethan, who has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), has a one-to-one learning mentor in class and – although yet to be diagnosed – is currently on the autism pathway after showing characteristics of the disorder such as a sensitivity to certain noises.
And it is this ‘unpredictable behaviour’ that Amy says prompted the school to exclude Ethan from the trip.
Amy, from Clowne, said: "We had the letter around three weeks in advance letting us know about the trip. The only time they raised something was three days before, his personal one-on-one she asked me how I thought he’d be on the trip.
"I couldn’t say as we didn’t know how he would be if he got anxious or upset, but I take him out and we manage to deal with him you just have to give him time.
"She said that was fine and they could do that so I thought everything was hunky dory until the day before.
“Then I got a call from the headteacher to say that she feels as though she’s going to have to exclude Ethan from the school trip.
"She explained that he had a bad day – he’d locked himself in the toilet for 35 minutes, he wasn’t answering to any teachers and was telling them to be quiet because he had a headache.
"The headteacher said because he’s so unpredictable they don’t feel they should take him.
"He’d been speaking about it for a long time and was really excited. I just felt let down and heartbroken.”
The situation was later resolved at 5pm the day before the trip, when the school decided Ethan could only attend if his family ‘could accommodate him’ – leaving Amy to frantically call her grandma and auntie who stepped in to chaperone.
The mum-of-two has since sought advice from various advice lines and education support services who say this type of exclusion is unfair and discrimination under the Equality Act 2010.
Nicola Field, headteacher of Immaculate Conception Primary, said: “As a school, we are committed to providing the best possible education to all pupils, including those with SEND or who are disadvantaged.
"As part of our risk assessment process, we take into consideration a wide range of factors, including the needs of individual pupils to ensure that every child gets the most out of an educational visit.
"Where a reasonable adjustment may be required, we work closely with parents and other agencies.
“We are sorry that a parent feels let down by the school on this occasion. The visit to The Deep was a huge success and thoroughly enjoyed by everyone.”