Dad takes son out of school over cash row

Tiernan Callahan (11)
Tiernan Callahan (11)

Questions have been asked about the level of education provision for youngsters with special needs at a North Lanarkshire school.

A resources row has broken out after an autistic 11-year-old boy from Twechar was taken out of Glencryan School, in Cumbernauld, by his father earlier this month.

Derek Callahan his 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.”

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.”