16-year-old Crumlin boy who has not attended school for five
years has been let down by the education system, his mother
David Nesbitt from Nutts Corner Road suffers
from severe dyslexia and his mother Karen said he had not been
offered a place at a school which would meet his needs. Karen
says that her son is still aiming to do his GCSEs but is now in
educational limbo. David's dyslexia was noticed when he attended
Straidhavern Primary School and he underwent a two year special
course. When he was due to move school his family tried
unsuccessfully to get him into two Belfast schools which
specialise in dylslexia. They were told that his high IQ
prevented him getting a place in a special school.
NEELB offered David a place at Parkhall College but his parents
felt that it did not meet his special needs. And in a letter to
the Board in 2005, the then headmaster at Parkhall College, said
he was "extremely concerned" at all of the circumstances and
"fearful for David's safety" should the child be forced to go to
the school. He wrote that he believed an "urgent review" was
needed and that placement in his school was "very clearly not
Despite not having been to school David has
enrolled at Belfast College where he attended a course for two
months and has also done a course at Ulster School of Music. He
also attends the Dyslexic Society on the Newtownards Road in
Karen feels that while the family have fought
continuously to try and give their son the best possible chance
he had been left in limbo.
"We feel that David has been very let down by
the system and we fear for his future," she said.
"He has no confidence and this has badly
affected him. It is terrible. More should have been done to to
help my son."
Despite not having been at school, David still
hopes to do his GCSE's . Karen continued: "David was a very
outgoing young boy and really loved going to school and making
friends until the problem with dyslexia started to show.
"All David needs is help, which he is
entitled to, and he should be placed in a suitable class for him
and given the help he needs, not just placed for the sake of it
in a school."
Ulster Unionist councillor Michael Copeland,
who had been contacted by the family said: "I find it amazing
that in 2008, in what's considered a developed society, a child
can go from the age of 11 to 16 with out receiving any form of
education. "When I learned of this I could not believe it that
someone has been denied a basic human right. He left primary
school and should be leaving secondary school later this year.
People were responsible for giving David this basic human right
- what happened?"