Natalie Page says that her 10-year-old son Steven Dragwidge, who has autism, was called ‘spazzy’ by a teacher at his school
A mother-of-four has removed her brain-damaged son from school after claiming a teacher called him ‘spazzy’.
Natalie Page, whose 10-year-old son Steven Dragwidge has autism, ADHD and brain damage due to being born prematurely, says she was offended by the term she heard used at Woodside Academy in Croydon, south London.
She says she went into the school to see how Steven got on during a school trip to London’s Science Museum but when she asked a teacher, she replied: ‘Well, he’s a bit spazzy isn’t he?’
Following the incident, one of number of disagreements between the mother and the school, she has removed Steven and his brother Ryley Dragwidge, eight.
Ms Page, 29, from Bromley, south-east London, said: ‘You wouldn’t call anyone something like that. It’s derogatory. It makes me so angry that I’ve heard nothing from the school.
‘He has a learning support team because he has autism, ADHD and brain damage. He has severe complex needs.
‘He needs to hold an adult’s hand at all times when out and about. When I went to pick him up, he was waiting at the tram stop.’
Ms Page said a teacher used the term to describe Steven (pictured) after a school trip
She added: ‘I feel as though they are vulnerable at school so I won’t send them back. I’ve had to pull them out of school two weeks ago.
‘Steven loves school and wants to go back. The kids will be moving school but I have to wait for Steven’s Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) to go through first for his special needs.’
Richard Lane, Head of Communications at disability charity Scope, branded the use of the term ‘outdated and offensive’.
Mr Lane said: ‘Derogatory terms such as this are outdated and offensive, and anyone using them clearly needs a lesson in equality.
‘We want disabled people to get the best start in life, and that means being able to attend school without worrying about derogatory comments from teachers.
‘Sixty two percent of disabled people say they’re treated differently because they are disabled. We have a long way to go to transform society’s attitudes towards disability and it’s vital that this starts in the classroom.’
She says she had removed Steven and her other son from the Woodside Academy in Croydon
Previously a state-run primary school and children’s centre, Woodside Academy is run by The Synaptic Trust. The school is yet to receive an Ofsted rating.
The Synaptic Trust and Woodside Academy have yet to comment on Ms Page’s claims but Ms Page has been told they are investigating.
A spokesperson for Croydon Council said: ‘Whenever there is an allegation against a professional working in a school the local authority designated officer works in close conjunction with the school to investigate. We wouldn’t comment on individual cases.’