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Parents’ plea to help autistic son
Tuesday 20th February 2018 @ 08:00 by Nigel Skinner

Concerned parents are fighting for a school place for their son who suffers from autism.

But Chris and Emma Green from Tintwistle say they have had nothing but knock-backs from education provider Derbyshire County Council.

Speaking from the family home on Woodlands Close, Chris said: “There are special schools in High Peak (Chapel and Whaley Bridge) but the council say they are full.

“They mentioned one at Chesterfield, but you can’t expect us to send our son there, it’s a 90 minute journey.”

The couple feel their nine- year-old son Alfie would benefit from a special school after he was permanently excluded from Tintwistle Primary in December following an incident involving a member of staff.

Chris, 50, says it has meant Alfie being away from full-time education since before Christmas and there seems no chance of an early return.

He said: “They (DCC) say they are writing a report but it won’t be until March 22 and after that Alfie will be assessed.

“But that will be three months since he was last at school.

“He has been at Tintwistle since reception class, they know all about him, so why do they need all this time to write a report?”

Chris and Emma, 37, believe the situation is already having an affect on Alfie.

They fear it is affecting his current and future education. They say he is missing inter-action with school mates and they worry the longer he is away from school, the more his confidence and education will suffer.

They accept DCC have arranged for school work to be sent for Alfie, but they say it’s no substitute for school.

“We are not teachers,” said Chris. “He needs to go to school.”

Alfie is taken for two hour lessons three days a week at Glossop and Hadfield Children’s Centres but his parents say these are little more than ‘colouring in’.

Chris says he has asked DCC to approach Tameside Council to see if their son could go to a special school there, as it would be closer to Tintwistle.

But he claims to have had no response.

The couple acknowledge that Alfie has also been ‘temporarily suspended’ twice since October.

Chris said: “We thought the latest suspension was temporary and that Alfie would be back before Christmas, but then we  learned it would be permanent.

“We just want what is best for Alfie. But no one is listening.”

A Derbyshire County Council spokesperson said: “We do not comment on individual cases.

“When parents and schools raise concerns about whether a child’s educational needs are being appropriately met, our specialist officers in each locality will work with families to find solutions that will help overcome the barriers to the child’s learning and participation.

“This may sometimes include discussions as to whether an alternative school placement may meet their child’s needs more effectively.

“We realise that this is a priority for families and, while we aim to complete the process as quickly as possible, we need to ensure that the placement is right for the child, their family and the school.”

MAIN PICTURE: Emma and Alfie.