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Moville boy denied school bus place  18.09.08

Parents appeal after Scoil Iosagain pupil’s application for bus place turned down

by Simon McGeady, Inishowen Independent

AN eight-year old Moville boy who suffers from severe dyslexia has been refused a place on the school bus which transports children with learning difficulties from Moville to Scoil Iosagain.
The parents of eight year old Aaron Wingham, who started lessons at the Buncrana school last Monday, take turns making the near 50 mile round trip twice daily to Scoil Iosagain after their application to for school transport made to the National Council for Special Education was turned down at local level.
Aaron was assessed by an educational psychologist when he was six and found to have severe dyslexia. His parents, Elaine McCartney and Brian Wingham, were advised to send him to Scoil Iosagain, a school that specialises in teaching kids with learning difficulties.
Aaron was enrolled in the spring but on the 25th of August Aaron’s mother, Elaine, was informed by telephone that his application for transport was turned down because the decision to send Aaron to Scoil Iosagain was one of parental choice, despite the fact that the application came with a cover letter from his educational psychologist highlighting his condition. A writing confirmation of the decision arrived last Thursday.
Aaron’s parents are refusing to accept the NCSE decision.
Elaine McCartney with her son Aaron. “It’s extremely frustrating, but his mother and I are determined to fight this decision, because Scoil Iosagain is the best place for Aaron to be. Aaron is extremely bright, and excels at maths but is in the lowest percentile when it comes to writing and spelling.
“At Scoil Iosagain he is provided with different approaches that will unlock how he learns. A couple of years at Scoil Iosagain will vital for his future education,” said Mr Wingham.
“We are lucky in Inishowen to have a school that cater for children
with learning difficulties, but if Aaron can’t get a place on the transport provided we won’t be able to keep him at Scoil Iosagain,” continued Mr Wingham, whose son previously attended Gaelscoil Cois Feabhaill in Moville with his 10 year old sister Caitlin.
“Elaine has talked to the other parents of children who travel on the bus. We are not the only ones to have had difficulties getting children on that school bus. One mother had to drive her son to Buncrana for a month before her son was allowed to travel with the other children, said Mr Wingham.
Aaron’s father is a retained fireman and his mother works as a nurse at Altnagelvin hospital, where she routinely works nights.
“This week I will get home just before 10am and have to leave at two to pick Aaron up, I will be very tired and not in the safest state to drive.”
Aaron’s mother cannot understand why her son has been refused a place on the school bus, but speculates that decision was made for financial reasons.
A new application, with letters of support from Aaron’s former principal at Gaelscoil Cois Feabhaill, his speech therapist and Senator Cecilia Keaveney has been sent to the NCSE head office in Dublin and his parents are hopeful the decision will be reversed.
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