Mum pleas for Portsmouth council to pay for daughter to go to specialist deaf/blind school

Scarlett Winter, 11, with her mum Stacy Winter, 43, from Farlington. 
PPicture by:  Malcolm Wells (170714-4011)
Scarlett Winter, 11, with her mum Stacy Winter, 43, from Farlington. PPicture by: Malcolm Wells (170714-4011)
Oxford Crown Court. Picture: Robin Stones / CC BY-SA 2.0.

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A MUM has been left devastated after being told the council will not pay for her daughter to go to a specialist school for deaf/blind children.

Stacy Winter wants to send daughter Scarlett, who is a deaf/blind child, to a school in Wandsworth which has teachers trained to deal with her disability.

They want to send her to a school which would only offer a few hours of sensory support a term.

Stacy Winter

But Portsmouth City Council has told the mum-of-two they will not fund the £100,000 a year needed.

Instead, they will pay for 11-year-old Scarlett to attend the Mary Rose Academy, a Portsmouth school for children with disabilities.

Stacy, from Farlington, said the school does not have the specialist teachers to give Scarlett the sensory support she needs and without this, she becomes disruptive and her behaviour gets worse.

‘Scarlett used to have a teacher who would spend 12 to 15 hours a week giving her sensory support and helping her at school,’ she said.

‘But she quit a few months ago and since then Scarlett has become difficult to deal with as she is frustrated.

‘We looked at schools for deaf/blind children and the one in Wandsworth is exactly what she needs.

‘We have wanted to send her there for the last three years but thought she was too young.

‘It is residential so Scarlett would stay three nights there and we think this would really help her.

‘But the council won’t pay for it. They want to send her to a school for £50,000 a year which would only offer a few hours of sensory support a term.’

Stacy’s husband is in the Royal Navy so she has to care for Scarlett and her eight-year-old son on her own.

She said it can be difficult at times and her son is the only person Scarlett reacts to making him her carer for most of the day.

Stacy added: ‘Sending Scarlett to this school would help us as a family.

‘At the moment, I am dealing with Scarlett so much that I don’t get to spend time with my son.

‘She doesn’t seem to enjoy being at home at the moment and we all get affected by that.

‘We hope, if she is staying at the school, when she comes home she will be excited and we can do more together.’

The family are looking to take Portsmouth City Council to a tribunal hearing. It was due to go ahead earlier this month but was postponed.

Dr Julia Katherine, head of inclusion, children, families and education at the council, said: ‘We’re unable to comments on specific cases.

‘However we are committed to ensuring that all children, including those with special educational needs and disabilities, receive the right support to enable them to benefit from good quality education provision in the city.’