Exiles Forum

Lisburn, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland


Mum's plea to help Crumlin boy
who hasn't been at school for five years

Karen Nesbitt and son David, from Crumlin, studying mathematics at their dining table. David, aged 16, has never been to secondary school. US5008-531cdA 16-year-old Crumlin boy who has not attended school for five years has been let down by the education system, his mother claims.

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.

David Nesbitt (16) from Crumlin who has not been at school for five years. US5008-530CDThe 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 the solution".

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 Belfast.

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?"

Ulster Star