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Hertfordshire County Council defends decision to move autistic girl from school she "loves"
Hertfordshire County Council is defending its decision to move an autistic girl from a school she “loves”.
Charlotte Byrne, 33, of Blanche Lane, Potters Bar, applied for her four-year-old daughter Emily to continue from nursery into the reception class at Cranborne Primary School.
At first, Emily struggled at the nursery where she bit teachers, lashed out at other children and regularly escaped from the building, which contains both the nursery and the main school. But after eight months she settled, and was looking forward to moving into the next year alongside her classmates.
However, the council rejected her application letter for Cranborne despite a note from her doctor stressing it is in Emily’s best interest to minimise her “difficulties” and “distress” as an autistic child.
Emily was given a place at Oakmere Primary School, in Chace Avenue, nearly four miles away from where she lives, where she was due to start on Wednesday, September 5.
Frances Button, cabinet member for education and skills said: "Cranborne Primary is an over-subscribed school, so unfortunately not all applications are successful. National class size legislation means that schools are only able to accept a maximum of 30 pupils per class in this age group.
"Getting a place at nursery does not in any way lead to a child being offered a place at the primary school and parents are made aware of this.
“Emily's case was assessed by an independent appeals panel who were satisfied that the correct processes had been followed.
“Emily has been offered a suitable place at Oakmere School where she will be welcomed and we hope to see her joining her new classmates as soon as possible."
Miss Byrne said: “I’m appalled by the council’s response. It’s disgusting.
“Because of her autism, Emily needs routing and structure and this change of school is going to be so upsetting for her. It’s just not on.
“She would be far too distressed to learn. It’s unfair that they’re treating my daughter like a piece of paper and they’re not taking her disability into consideration.”