Glencryan School under fire from parent who withdrew his son

Derek Callahan claims a lack of resources at Glencryan School forced him to withdraw son Tiernan

Derek Callahan claims a lack of resources at Glencryan School forced him to withdraw son Tiernan

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Questions have been asked about the level of education provision for youngsters with special needs at Cumbernauld’s Glencryan School.

A resources row has broken out after a 11-year-old boy with Autism was taken out of school last week.

Derek Callahan claims that his 11-year-old son Tiernan can no longer cope with lessons as there are not enough support staff on hand to provide assistance.

The dad of four also claims that pupils can’t use the hydrotherapy pool on-site because low staff numbers mean there is nobody to supervise the youngsters in the water.

He has also stated that budget cuts have led to a roving bus service that arrives far too early for classes, leaving agitated youngsters inside the vehicles until the buzzer rings – as the children cannot be supervised indoors because of staff shortages.

Ex serviceman Derek said: “First of all, I decided that I was going to take Tiernan into school myself because he was getting too upset when he was waiting.

“Last week I decided to take my son out of school altogther because he is just not getting the help he needs now he has been put in a bigger class.

“There are children in this class with breathing difficulties, with Downs Syndrome, in wheelchairs and with serious illnesses and they all have different needs.

“It is not a good atmosphere for Tiernan. He was coming home saying it was too hard for him.

“I want to point out that I am not criticising the teachers or staff here. This is all about money.”

Meanwhile a spokesman at the National Autistic Society said that this could be a common problem for the 8000 schoolchildren who have autism in Scotland.

He said: “Some students may need more specialist education because, for instance, they are extremely sensitive to light or sound or face great difficulty communicating.

“This is why every area must have a range of education provision – mainstream schools, specialist units attached to mainstream schools and specialist schools, including autism-specific schools.”

North Lanarkshire Council has denied that pupils like Tiernan are not being catered for.

However, education bosses did admit that three teachers and five support staff were absent last week when Derek visited the school to raise his fears over Tiernan.

Gerry McCormick, Acting Head of Education Services (Standards & Inclusion), said:“The budget for Glencryan School has not been cut.

“The school is staffed to nationally agreed standards, which allows it to meet the sometimes complex needs of individual pupils.

“The school has maintained a regular dialogue with the parent and a further meeting has been scheduled.

“Staffing changes have resulted in a period during which it has not been possible to use the pool.

“However, there are plans to train support staff with the intention of re-opening the pool .

“Pupils attend the school from all over North Lanarkshire and transport is scheduled after careful planning.

“Sometimes these schedules are adjusted to take account of weather conditions or known roadworks.

“Every attempt is made to ensure that arrival times closely match the start of the school day.”