PARENTS Mike and Paula Gallop have been left ‘devastated’ after their five-year-old diabetic son was refused a place at his first choice primary school.
The concerned parents have decided not to send their son to Callands Primary School, where Bobby was offered a place, due to concerns that it would take too long for them to reach him in an emergency.
Bobby was diagnosed with type one diabetes when he was aged two and often goes into hypo due to low blood glucose levels, which can leave him aggressive and agitated.
His parents are worried about the distance from their home in Longford to the school on Callands Road, which is approximately 1.2 miles.
Mum Paula said: “When he goes into hypo he needs me to be with him. Because of his age, he doesn’t understand the symptoms.
“He can often lash out and it’s only me who can calm him down. If the school aren’t able to restrain him then they will need to call me. I need to be nearby to make sure I can get to him quickly.”
The mother of five hoped her son would be offered place at St Stephen’s Primary School, which is less than a five minute walk from their house.
Parents Mike and Paula have since appealed the decision but their application was turned down so they have decided to keep Bobby at home.
Paula said: “It’s been an emotional time. We have had a lot of support from the diabetic team at the hospital and they wrote a letter, that I included in the admission from, where they recommended that he should go to St Stephen’s.
“We were told he wasn’t given a place because he hadn’t been baptised or had an older sibling there.”
The couple are not frightened of being penalised for their decision to keep Bobby at home.
Paula said: “I will fight this all the way. I need to make sure that my son is at the best school for him.”
A council spokesperson said: “We do appreciate that the admissions and appeals process can be a difficult time for parents and carers.
“If a child is identified as needing additional support, the appropriate support will be provided irrespective of which school a child attends.
“Parents and carers can contact the schools admission team for further advice.”