Anxious wait for Zaque's mum

WORRIED mother Linda Sheppard today spoke of her frustration after a decision on her son's educational future was delayed for two weeks.Mrs Sheppard's son, Zaque, 11, has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and Tourette's syndrome along with other learning disorders.

WORRIED mother Linda Sheppard today spoke of her frustration after a decision on her son's educational future was delayed for two weeks.

Mrs Sheppard's son, Zaque, 11, has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and Tourette's syndrome along with other learning disorders.

She is battling aganst the local education authority (LEA) for a specialist school place for the youngster.

Zaque would have to go to the Banham Marshall College in Norfolk, but the LEA want him to go to the Orwell High School in Ipswich.


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Mrs Sheppard says that reports from medical experts and a former teacher recommend Zaque should have constant specialist education which he would not get here.

A tribunal was held on Friday at the Novotel Hotel, Ipswich but a decision will not be made yet.

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Mrs Sheppard said: "They are going to let us know in writing in two weeks so we are all in limbo and nobody knows what is going to happen.

"It is ridiculous. Everyone seems to have forgotten that there is a child at the bottom of all this.

"He needs a specialist school to meet his complex needs."

Zaque's disorders mean, among other things, he cannot make friends, is fearful of change and has to take constant medication for even his family to be able to cope with him.

His mother admits Zaque, who has not been to school since July, has been affected by the argument. She said: "He is now back on anti-depressants and he has had enough.

"His self-esteem has gone so low, possibly beyond repair. His trust in adults has all gone and he thinks they have all let him down. He is not stupid and he can see what is happening.

"I have made it clear to him that whatever their decision (the LEA's) I would not send him to Orwell High School.

"There is no way he would survive in a mainstream environment. He did not in a small village school so how is he going to do it in a school of 1,000 people?"

If the LEA win the dispute then Mrs Sheppard said she would take her case to the High Court and then the Court of Human Rights.

Banham Marshall College is seen as the best option as Zaque wants to be near his family. If he could not go there the only alternatives would be special schools in either Northamptonshire or Kent.

Mrs Sheppard said: "If we had a special school here (in Suffolk) we would not be having these problems."

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