A mum has slammed a primary school after her ten-year-old son with Down’s Syndrome was banned from a trip – over health and safety fears.
Tanya Bryant, 43, has been told Charlie Watson cannot go away with his classmates because there is no one to care for him.
Charlie had been looking froward to the trip to an adventure camp to take part in activities like canoeing, climbing and raft-building.
But mum-of-two Tanya says the family have been told he can’t go – because his parents can’t go with them to look after him.
Tanya says the week-long trip happens every year – and has criticised Winscombe Primary School in North Somerset for failing to accommodate him.
She has accused the school of discriminating against her little boy – and said it is “heart-breaking” that he will have to watch his friends go away without him.
Tanya, of Winscombe, said: “I want my child to be able to go to school and do what every other child can do and not miss out.
“They said either myself or his dad would have to go with him to make sure he was properly looked after.
“It’s just ridiculous. Charlie has got Down’s but he is like any other child.”
Tanya said that Charlie’s dad, Roy Watson, 44, was able to take some time off his job as a kitchen fitter to try to accommodate the school’s request – but not the whole week.
She said on Monday morning, her son will line up with the other children in the playground and watch his classmates go off on their trip without him.
They will then go off to an adventure camp in Hooke Court, Dorset where they will take part in activities like canoeing, climbing and raft-building.
Tanya, who also has an eight-year-old son called Harvie, said: “He was so excited about this trip.
“It was either that he would miss out completely or one of us would have to go with him. I just think it is wrong.
“Why is it that our children can’t be the same as normal children? It’s not fair on him.”
“I understand that Charlie has certain requirements that other children in his class don’t, but the school are well aware of his needs and have been since he first started with them.
“This is a trip that happens every year – they’ve had a long time to put something in place, and they haven’t done it.”
“I want him to have the same opportunities as his classmates, and it’s heart breaking that he’s going to miss out on two days with his friends like this.
“I feel like he’s being discriminated against.”
Tanya added that Charlie’s day-to-day care at the school has been good, but that this dispute has left her at her wit’s end.
She said: “I think the school is too focussed on getting As but what about all the other children who are a little bit behind who need that extra support?
“I just want to raise awareness of children with special needs. I’m not the only mum in this position and it upsets me.”
The school say Charlie could go to the centre for activities in the day time but would need to go home to his parents at night – a 90 minute drive away.
Tanya said: “He is allowed to go for the day but they wouldn’t allow him to stay over night because of health and safety issues.”
A spokesperson for Winsombe Primary School, said: “We, as a team, ensure that every pupil is treated equally regardless of their educational needs.
“In any residential trip, we have to adhere to statutory safeguarding and health and safety policies.
“In discussion with the parents, support and teaching staff and the North Somerset Vulnerable Learning Service, it was agreed that Charlie would attend the residential trip for three days and for the two remaining days of that week, he would participate in ‘like for like’ activities at our school, so that he is not disadvantaged in any way.”
A spokesman for North Somerset Council added: “We fully support the school and the actions it has taken.”