THE parents of a young deaf boy have spoken of their relief at seeing him thrive in a new school community, following months of negotiations to get him there.
Ross Cartmill attended Jordanstown School for Children with Auditory and Visual Needs for the first time last week and his mum Jacqueline said she was glad the “long battle” with the Southern Education and Library Board to get him to the school was over.
Mrs Cartmill, together with her husband Willliam, enlisted the help of their local DUP MP David Simpson and town councillor Junior McCrum when they were informed that the SELB would not provide transport to the school.
“I was just delighted that we got the issue resolved,” said Mrs Cartmill. “We had a long road but we always knew this was the right school for Ross.”
The Cartmill’s were preparing to send Ross to the school last September when they were informed by the SELB that their son needed to be re-assessed to see which school would suit his needs best.
But, after the three-month battle to get him to Jordanstown, Mrs Cartmill said she was confident the right decision had been made.
“He has settled in right away - he is so happy there,” she said. “He has begun signing already and we’re just delighted that it is all finally over and he can get on with his school life.”
The local mum thanked her family for their support throughout, as well as the politicians who lobbied on her behalf. She also had a special word of thanks to some of those who have played a role in Ross’s educational life so far.
She said, “Caroline and Ruth at Ladybird Lane deserve a special mention for all their work with Ross from a very early age. I also want to mention Rosemary Gardner who helped Ross as his Sensory Support Teacher through the Board.”
Upper Bann MP David has expressed his delight after the decision “I have been working with the Cartmill family for some time on what has been a very heart-rending case,” said Mr Simpson.
“Ross was due to attend Jordanstown in Sept, but the day before he was to start his mother was informed by the SELB that this wouldn’t be possible as they wanted to do a new assessment.”
“I have been working on this since then and finally it was agreed that Jordanstown was in fact the right place to send Ross. I am delighted at this result which has allowed a little boy to go to school after such a long delay.
“The priority for me was this young boy rather than bureaucracy. It is a pity that this took so long and that Ross and his family were kept hanging on. I am glad though that the right thing was finally done in the end.”
A spokesman for the Board said, “The SELB places children in specialist provision on the basis of the assessed needs of individual children. The Board is required to comply with the statutory assessment process to progress the identification of placements.”