A 10-yr-vintage boy with unique desires who complained of bullying was pressured by the workforce to concentrate to classmates listing the reasons they didn’t like him – and needed to write these on a hand-drawn poster that was then caught on his classroom wall.
In a case that campaigners say highlights the need for professional teaching assets, Damian Lightoller’s son, who has trends of autism, ADHD and oppositional defiant disorder and is on the special schooling needs sign in, turned into instructed by using his friends he needed to “forestall shouting”, “stop demanding us” and “be satisfied, not sad” if he desired to have higher relationships with them.
The incident, which occurred ultimate year at Allenton Community Primary School in Derby but turned into handiest lately observed with the aid of his mother and father, followed the boy (whom the Observer has chosen not to name) telling the college’s behavior mentor that he changed into being bullied. “[My son] approached his behavior mentor and said he changed into being bullied and turned into upset the opposite kids didn’t like him,” Lightoller told the Observer. “So, to try and address this, his [behavior mentor’s] idea changed into reputedly to find out why the other children didn’t like him. So he sat [my son] down, asked the opposite children why they didn’t like him and attempted to inform [my son] to trade the one’s matters.

“My son sought assist from a trainer, and rather than field the alternative children for bullying, [the mentor] blamed the victim and said ‘nicely you want to not do that, this, this and this’.”

According to Lightoller, the college’s headteacher, Jon Fordham, defined the consultation to them as “restorative justice”. He wondered “why we’d stricken to elevate it and why we even had an issue with it in the first location”, Lightoller said. Gillian Doherty, the founding father of SEND (special training desires and incapacity) Action, which campaigns for youngsters with unique desires, said: “No baby should be singled out and made to feel unwelcome at college. We’re hearing of many children with SEND experiencing mental health problems, growing tension about school attendance and being excluded from education.
“It’s critical faculties are seeking early expert advice on how exceptional to assist youngsters with special needs with out undermining their self-esteem.”
Funding for unique needs training has been squeezed in the latest years, with the world engulfed in crisis. Council overspending on “high needs” training budgets trebled in the 3 years to 2017/18, with many cutting offerings or raiding different college budgets – which hits provision for youngsters with unique needs and disabilities in mainstream colleges.

Despite the list having being drawn up in November, the boy’s dad and mom knew nothing till he brought the drawing returned from college towards the cease of term, weeks in the past. They fear it may have improved the bullying in their son, who had an at instances fractious courting with his classmates. “We’ve had some more incidents of bullying this year than within the beyond, so it may have made things worse,” Lightoller stated. “Early this 12 months any other scholar threw a bottle at my son’s head. That ended in him desiring to visit A&E to have a part of his eyelid glued.”
During the 12 months, the boy noted some of the youngsters’ complaints as matters he disliked about himself. “We had no idea, obviously, that he was getting reminders each day whilst he went to school about the matters children dislike approximately him,” stated Lightoller. “We had no idea in which it turned into coming from – we just idea it was a child that turned into having some issues.”
As soon as they saw the image, the parents had an assembly with the school’s behavior mentor, who works with perpetrators and victims of horrific behavior, and with Fordham, who is credited with having turned around the college’s overall performance seeing that taking on, and with whom they’d had a terrific courting. But the outline of the consultation as “restorative justice” left them “livid, upset and harm”, said Lightoller.
He introduced: “A friend who’s a primary college teacher at another school in Derby stated she’s familiar with this interest, and you’re supposed to sit the child down and you ask their friends to list high-quality things about the child, and you attempt to get the kid to cognizance on the one’s fine matters. [Instead they] targeted at the poor.”
Fordham did no longer reply to a request for remark. Transform Trust, which sponsors Allenton school, refused to remark.