Methilhill parent launches petition calling for Scottish Government review

A determined Methilhill parent has launched a petition calling on the Scottish Government to review special education needs provision.

Mark Henry-Rowan’s young son Liam has been sent home from Buckhaven Primary School numerous times since it reopened a few weeks ago, as he struggles with class sizes.

Liam, who is nonverbal autistic with global developmental delay and ADHD, is in a Additional Support Class with 10 pupils and three teachers.

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However, Mark says that gives Liam ‘sensory overload’ and sends him into ‘meltdown’, and means he has to go home. He says the school has offered him, and other parents of children in the class, half days, but he says this will just cut his education in half.

Mark says the children are ‘being set up to fail’.

“The environment is setting him off – it’s something he can’t help,” said Mark. “There’s not going to be any resolution until the problem is solved.”

Fife Council says it works within the Scottish Negotiating Committee for Teachers guidelines of up to ten pupils in each class, however, that is only for children with moderate learning difficulties, or those with profound learning difficulties when there is one adult for every 2.5 children – which is not the case at Liam’s school.

According to the guidelines, those with severe learning difficulties should be in a class of no more than eight pupils, and those with significant difficulties should be in a class of no more than six pupils.

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It is because of this situation that Mark started a petition, which calls on the Scottish Government to review special education needs provision, to make sure the children are not left behind and the teachers get the support they need. Hundreds of people have already signed it.

“I’ve had conversations with other parents,” he said.

“Dozens and dozens of them contacted me with their concerns. I thought I’d start the petition for them.”

Head of Education and Children’s Services Angela Logue said: “Buckhaven Primary School’s Additional Support Class supports children who have a range of additional support needs. Staffing is reviewed annually and we work within national SNCT guidelines which state there should be up to ten pupils in each class. We are confident that we are able to meet the range of children’s needs with the current staffing levels. The headteacher will be meeting with the concerned parent to listen to their concerns and work to resolve these.”