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When secondary schools don’t want your child (Pt.2!)

February 4, 2022

So, it was 7 month’s ago since I wrote our last blog about trying to source an appropriate secondary school for the boys, and the problems we were having. If you haven’t read that yet please have a look here: “When Secondary schools don’t want your child”.

And so after endless calls, meeting, visits, zoom meetings involving the School, SENDCO’s, Occupational Therapists and SEN Caseworkers we finally agreed upon our school for the boys and put in our formal applications. Now it was just to wait for the outcomes which for us would be 01/02/2022, but as this was the only option of a school left in the area, I honestly wasn’t expecting too many issues, oh when will I learn!

So, come the 03rd February we still hadn’t heard anything so thought we had best call our caseworker. In short, George has been accepted and yet they have refused Charlie as they “Can not meet his needs”. That is it. That is all the information as a parent we have a been given.

So, in a new build which is presumably DDA compliant, and certainly seemed on the three visits we have had, the school are saying they can’t meet the needs of a child in a wheelchair. It has left me completely stumped. Now from my experience of these things I am thinking and hoping that this could all to be to do with the school trying to gain extra funding, but if that is the case and this is the way in which they have to do that, then the whole process is a joke and needs to be looked at.

Why can there not just be an open book approach keeping everyone in the loop including parents and the children. At present we have absolutely no idea if our child has a school to go to, and nobody can give us an answer as to why. What do people think that does for parent’s mental health? How do they think this affects a child who now doesn’t know if he has a school to go to with his brother? Quite frankly it is a complete farce, and I am SICK of it. The whole system is clearly completely broken.

I mean let’s say that this is it and the school refuse to take Charlie because he is in a wheelchair. What then? Charlie misses out on a school education? Stays home? Becomes socially isolated? Relies on benefits all his life because he missed out on an education? Does a parent have to stay home all the time to home school? We then can’t work and have to claim benefits?

Is that it? Is that the answer? Are we just writing people off from the age of 10 because they are in a wheelchair? If so what sort of system are we living in? If it turns out it is one big funding game then my god it needs an overhaul, because the strain it is putting on parent’s and young people is, at times, unbearable. Now we are one for being very open about things with the boys but obviously at this point we have not told them any of this as I am not sure how you would tell your son that none of the schools in the area want him. Bit of a shitty subject to bring up that isn’t it? I can only hope there is a positive outcome on the horizon and it doesn’t come to that. 

I will say it again, I am tired. I’m tired of the emotional drain it takes every time we want Charlie just to be involved and included. I’m tired of the ridiculous excuses, the red tape, the bureaucracy. I just want a school who wants my son for all the amazing things he brings with him and look beyond the fact he is in a wheelchair. And I cannot believe I am even having to write that in 2022, let alone about an apparent place of education but there you go. So again, and as suspected we are left fighting. Fighting for answers, fighting for inclusion, and fighting for an education for my son. It shouldn’t be this way. But, as always, with grit and determination we plough on. I will keep you posted. Dan. x


We are the Maley Family, a family of 6 from Greater Manchester. We are Dad: Dan, Mum: Jo, our three sons: Charlie, George and Tom, and our daughter: Hettie. Our eldest boys Charlie and George both have Cerebral Palsy, with Charlie being diagnosed at 2 years old and George not until he was 9. In this blog we want to give an honest and realistic perspective on life and experiences. We hope that in return this might help other families in a similar position to us.