A BOURNEMOUTH mum has called on the Prime Minister to provide full-time opportunities for school leavers with disabilities.
Jackie Horne, of Muscliff, says her 14-year-old daughter Emily – currently a pupil at Beaucroft School in Colehill – will not have the appropriate amount of support when she leaves full-time education.
The teenager has DiGeorge Syndrome, and suffers with obsessive compulsive disorder, attention deficit disorder and autistic tendencies as a result.
However, her condition is not so severe that she will be able to continue in further full-time education at the school after she reaches the age of 16.
Jackie said: “I have started to investigate the other options available to us, and there just isn’t anywhere that will take Emily on for five days a week.
“Instead, we’re looking at only three days, which isn’t enough. It’s incredibly frustrating that my daughter, who mentally, academically and socially is more like nine, won’t have enough options after she leaves.”
Jackie began an online petition protesting the lack of choice available for children over the age of 16 with additional needs, which 900 people have now signed.
“Until now, Emily has received excellent specialised education for five days a week,” Jackie said.
“Her learning disability won’t disappear overnight when she hits 16, and she is not going to simply be like any other 16 year old.
“It is extremely unlikely that she’ll be able to be left on her own for the other two days when education is not provided for her.
“I believe that, with enough support, Emily can go on to lead a reasonably independent life and get a job.
“But this isn’t going to happen if her education changes so drastically at 16.”
Jackie, who works at a school in Winton, has now sent the petition to David Cameron, Michael Gove, Ofsted, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg, among others.
And a positive response from Bournemouth East MP Tobias Ellwood has encouraged Jackie to keep fighting.
She said: “I know I’m not the only mum out there wondering what on earth is going to happen when my child reaches 16.
“Young people are our future, regardless of their disabilities, and they are entitled to every opportunity that is afforded to others.”
For more information, or to sign the petition, visit change.org/en-GB/petitions/department-for-education-change-post-16-provision-for-young-people-with-additional-needs