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‘We just want Alfie to have an education’

The mother of a six-year-old boy with special educational needs says the system is failing him and his family and that the situation has left them ‘at breaking point.’

Alfie Brown, who lives with his mum Leane, dad Joe and brother Oliver, 12, in Haverhill, is currently going through assessments for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) .

He has been at Place Farm Primary Academy, in Haverhill, since he was four, but his behaviour has been so challenging that since September 2017 alone he has been fixed term excluded about eight times.

Leane said a managed move was then arranged for Alfie after Suffolk County Council’s (SCC) inclusion team approached the In Year Fair Access Panel (IYFAP).

However, a six-week trial period at St Felix Primary School, in Haverhill, was terminated by the school after three weeks.

In that time Alfie received a 1.5 day exclusion, due to his continuous needs, said Leane.

She said it was clear mainstream schools could not cope with her son and he needed specialist care, but no alternative had been provided.

She said: “Alfie’s behaviour can be aggressive, explosive, distracting and violent at times, particularly when he is anxious or feels unsafe.

“He has already received a provisional diagnoses of ADHD as well as learning difficulties and possibly ASD (social communication skill difficulties), therefore these behaviours are somewhat to be expected, even if they are difficult to manage.

“There are, however, no spaces at the local Pupil Referral Unit (PRU) and I have been told that I cannot reapply until mid October.

“I am not asking for much, just that Alfie receives an education in a school that can keep him safe.

“I believe that a PRU or a special education school are now his only option as they are trained to help children like him.

Leane said she and her husband do not want to return Alfie to Place Farm as they felt he could not be kept safe there and that he would probably be permanently excluded if he did return.

She added: “I’ve been asking for years for this help.We are all at breaking point.”

An SCC spokesperson said: “Alfie and his family are being supported by teams within the Inclusion Service at Suffolk County Council.

“The Local Authority has identified through work with the school and family that Alfie would benefit from a period of specialist intervention through a local alternative provision. A place is currently being sourced for Alfie, however, a start date has not yet been confirmed.

“Alfie has a place at Place Farm Primary Academy and he is expected to remain on the roll of Place Farm in September 2018. The Inclusion Service will continue to support Alfie and his family.”

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