Stevenage boy, six, expelled from school just weeks after autism diagnosis

PUBLISHED: 08:28 31 January 2020

Lenni Piper was expelled from Martins Wood Primary School in Stevenage just weeks after being diagnosed with autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Picture: Pexels.

Lenni Piper was expelled from Martins Wood Primary School in Stevenage just weeks after being diagnosed with autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Picture: Pexels.

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A six-year-old boy has been permanently excluded from school just four weeks after he was diagnosed with autism.

Carly Piper says her son Lenni has been left confused, scared and unable to sleep since being told he could no longer be a pupil at Martins Wood Primary School in Stevenage.

Lenni was diagnosed with autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in December, excluded from school four days later and permanently excluded on January 10, Carly told the Comet.

She said: "The [school's exclusion] report says he assaulted an adult. That doesn't happen at home or anywhere else. When a child with autism has a wobble, you step away and give them space, then an adult they trust can talk to them.

"Different adults kept going to him, trying to calm him down, which just makes it worse. It's a lack of their understanding.

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"It's not Lenni's fault. He calls it his 'naughty brain' and he gets scared around people he doesn't know very well.

"The school should be there to support him, not to shove him out. It's about getting Lenni the right support so he's got a good education, but they haven't managed any support for his special needs. I'm baffled by it."

With permanent exclusions, central government rules state local councils must arrange full-time education from the sixth school day, but Carly says Lenni had no educational support until day 12, when he began one-to-one lessons for just two hours a day. "I don't know how long this will go on for," she said. Herts County Council has a duty to get him into a school. It's discrimination and it's disgusting."

She added: "When we left Martins Wood and I said he wouldn't be going back he just cried. Now he won't leave the house, doesn't want to leave my side because he's frightened, has lost all his confidence and is not sleeping. He's traumatised."

A spokesman for the school said: "We have worked closely to support this family since they joined our school. The safety and welfare of our students and staff is of paramount importance to us and we have robust procedures in place to deal with any issues that arise. Decisions to exclude are a last resort and not taken lightly."

A county council spokesman said: "We have been in regular contact with Lenni's family since his exclusion and are in the process of arranging alternative education provision for him."

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