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Let Adam Go To School

April 23, 2012

Same Difference covered Adam Bojelian’s poetry last year. Having CP and being a lover of poetry myself, he really impressed me. So I was very sad to receive the press release below:

This is part of the Inclusion Rules Debate. Let Adam Go To School!

Multi-award winning young poet 12 year old, Adam Bojelian from Edinburgh  is fighting to be allowed to regularly attend school.

Adam is educationally very bright (top of the class in mainstream school) despite having very severe cerebral palsy and multiple serious health problems.  His recent school report described the standard of some of his schoolwork as “fantastic” and his teacher told his parents at a recent parents’ meeting that the teacher reads some of Adam’s work to the rest of his class to show them the standard to which they should be aiming.

Adam’s local education authority (Edinburgh City Council) pay his health board (NHS Lothian) to provide a nurse to accompany Adam to school.  Adam has such complex health problems that he cannot attend a school unless a nurse goes with him.  NHS Lothian, despite employing thousands of nurses (several hundred of whom know Adam personally as he has spent more of his life in hospital than out), often fail to provide a nurse, meaning Adam cannot attend school.  NHS Lothian tell Adam’s parents that the complexity of Adam’s health problems makes him too complex for most nurses to care for him.  Adam is usually in hospital or too unwell to attend school in the autumn and winter months, so it is all the more important that he is able to attend school in the summer months.  NHS Lothian managers have said that no nurse will be provided from Monday 23rd April 2012 for a week and a half.  Adam having to stay at home because NHS Lothian has not provided a nurse has been a common problem since Adam started school six years ago.

Zoe, Adam’s mum says “NHS Lothian have had six years to put in place a sustainable system so that nurses are available.  They could have trained a doctor from scratch in that time, let alone up-skilled a small pool of nurses, to support Adam and other children in the region with similar needs.

NHS Lothian managers keep letting Adam down, time and time again.  It is clear that their publicly stated commitment to disability equality is hollow.  I doubt they would think it acceptable for a non-disabled child to repeatedly miss school in this way.  Last June Adam missed weeks of school because no nurse was available.  NHS Lothian promised me and Adam, it would never happen again. Adam has already missed several days this year because a nurse has not been made available and now we are told there is no cover for the next week and a half.   At this time of year it is crucial for Adam to attend school, because he spends so much of the autumn and winter in hospital”. 

Part of the problem seems to be lack of willingness to find a nurse.  NHS Lothian state publicly that they are doing all they can and even going to agencies, but they do not go to agencies as soon as they know there is a gap.  They wait until it is too late to fill the shift don’t go at all.  Clearly if NHS Lothian are using agencies to support Adam and the other children in the region needing a nurse to accompany them to school, it does beg the question whether the fact that they save money every time a child stays at home, is an incentive to them not to find a nurse?”

NHS Lothian seem to be oblivious to their legal obligations to Adam and the fact that they have a legal duty to provide a nurse not an option, as the email I received from them yesterday shows

It is also ironic that I received the email cancelling all Adam’s nursing cover on the very day that the Westminster government were proposing that parents should be fined if their children do not attend school.  Perhaps service providers should likewise be fined by the government, it they fail to meet their legal obligations in this way”.

It is heartbreaking that a bright 12 year old who loves being at school and has shown he can do really well educationally, when given the chance, is being denied the opportunity to fulfill his potential in this way and indeed to have fun with his classmates, like any other 12 year old”.

A facebook group Let Adam Go To School has been set up and attracted over 400 members within 24 hours. Group members include very senior Scottish politicians.  Senior politicians have also taken up Adam’s case with NHS Lothian, as has Edinburgh City Council.

Here is a link to the Facebook page, where you can read more about Adam and his fight to go to school.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/331776460219176/

The Edinburgh Evening News covered Adam’s story earlier this week:-

http://www.scotsman.com/edinburgh-evening-news/edinburgh/nhs-must-give-adam-the-help-he-needs-1-2240626

Adam has several awards for writing including a Brit Writers Award for writing poetry, and a Gold Blue Peter Badge. He was a runner up in the Scottish Book Trust Jacqueline Wilson Short Story Writing Competition. He is a finalist in the Sunday Mail Young Scot Awards to be held at the Glasgow Hilton this Thursday. One of Adam’s poems (he writes them all by communicating by blinking) has been used by the Scottish Government as a teaching aid of their Glow Website for schools.  He has received letters of congratulation for his achievements from 10 Downing Street; the Queen and Alex Salmond. In August 2010 Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond wrote to Adam:-

Your poetry is all the more remarkable because of the time and effort that you put into writing it. It is truly inspiring to hear of your determination, you are truly deserving of recognition“.

Adam’s poetry blog has had almost 7,000 hits from every continent of the world. http://intheblinkofaneyepoemsbyadambojelian.blogspot.co.uk/

Pageviews by Countries

Total Hits 6,983United Kingdom

4,233

United States

1,413

Germany

179

Russia

92

France

84

Canada

78

Australia

68

Ireland

48

Spain

46

India

44

Adam loves attending school and is very popular with his classmates, who miss him when Adam is not in school.

Adam moves to High School next year and the consensus is he has the ability to do well academically, but he will not be able to, if NHS Lothian repeatedly prevent him from attending school.

NHS Lothian state on their website:-

Equality, diversity and equal opportunities

NHS Lothian is committed to eliminating discrimination and improving equality of opportunity. This means improving the way we deliver our services and the way we employ our staff. We want to be at the level of Scotland’s best NHS Boards in our work to address health inequalities and as a welcoming, caring employer.”

Relevant Law

Article 2 of Protocol 1 of the European Convention of Human Rights states that “No person shall be denied their right to education”.  The European Court of Human Rights confirmed in the leading case of Belgian Linguistics (No.2) [1968] 1 EHRR 2525 that the right to education in the first sentence of P1-2 guarantees the right of access to education.

As a public body NHS Lothian are required by law Human Right Act 1998 to abide by the European Convention

The UK is also a signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.  The right to education in the Convention states:-

Article 28 UNCRC:-

1. States Parties recognize the right of the child to education, and with a view to achieving this right progressively and on the basis of equal opportunity, they shall, in particular:

(a) Make primary education compulsory and available free to all;

Article 29

1. States Parties agree that the education of the child shall be directed to:

(a) The development of the child’s personality, talents and mental and physical abilities to their fullest potential;

.NHS Lothian publicly state their commitment to the Children’s Convention on their website saying:-

“Royal Hospital for Sick Children is collaborating with a number of children’s hospitals and child health institutions to promote the rights of children and young people. This group, the Taskforce on Health Promotion for Children and Adolescents in and by Hospitals and Health Services, is composed of members from Europe, North America and Australia. The Taskforce’s first programme of action is to evaluate the level of compliance with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC)….”

For further information about Adam’s fight to go to school you can contact Adam’s mother Zoe on 0131 556 4714 or email ZPicton@me.com

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. staceyuk permalink
    April 23, 2012 2:55 pm

    This kind of situation makes me really cross. Not to mention the double standards if it was the parents keeping him off school rather than the local authority. But as it is not their child concerned, the authorities do not bother.

Trackbacks

  1. Christmas Gibbons- A Charity Single By Adam Bojelian « Same Difference
  2. Adam Bojelian Died In March Aged 15 | Same Difference

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