Mum claims son is ‘being set up to fail’

Jed Smith, 12, and his mum Katie, who took her son out of school six months ago.
Jed Smith, 12, and his mum Katie, who took her son out of school six months ago.
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A Blackpool mum has clashed with education bosses over where her son should go to school.

Katie Smith took 12-year-old Jed out of mainstream education six months ago and is demanding he be moved to a special school.

She alleges her son has multiple learning and emotional problems, including cerebral palsy, benign tumours in his knee, ADHD and slight brain damage caused during pregnancy.

Mrs Smith – a 31-year-old mum-of-three – took the controversial decision in October to withdraw Jed from St George’s High School in Marton claiming he was struggling to keep up with other children.

She is now taking Blackpool Council to a tribunal, accusing the authority of failing to educate her son according to his needs.

She said: “(At this stage) Jed doesn’t process things like a normal 12-year-old should and there’s no help for him at school. They’re just setting him up to fail.”

Jed, who initially went to Stanley Primary School, spent two weeks at the Speedwell Centre, a pupil referral unit on Whitegate Drive, after his mum pulled him out of school.

He now spends his days at home in Handley Road, Blackpool, where Mrs Smith tutors him while juggling her role as mother to Shaunna, six, and five-year-old Tommy.

She wants Blackpool Council to allow Jed to attend a special school, or allow him to be statemented – a process formally recognising he has special learning requirements – at a mainstream school.

Mrs Smith has turned to Blackpool MP Gordon Marsden for help.

He said: “Mrs Smith understandably has concerns about Jed and the problems he has with his educational provision. That is why I have written to Blackpool Council asking for a full response to her current concerns.

“There needs to be proper co-ordination between various agencies to get Jed back into learning and personal support as soon as possible.”

The tribunal is scheduled to take place in July.

Mrs Smith added: “This is about justice for Jed. Anybody else would have been fined for having their child out of school for this long but I just want what’s best for my child.

“Jed wants to be in school, but it has to be a comfortable environment for him to be able to cope.”

Coun Sarah Riding, cabinet member for children and schools, said: “It would not be appropriate to comment ahead of the tribunal.”

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