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Seaford boy misses first year at school
8:30am Thursday 22nd August 2013 in News
A Seaford father claims his son hasn’t been allowed to go to school because he has a disability and is black.
Leonard Munjanganja, 32, from Seaford, said his five-year-old son Afrika should have started school in September last year but hasn’t been allowed to enrol due to “disability discrimination.”
Because Afrika has problems with his speech, Mr Munjanganja claims he was told he required a statement of educational needs - a formal document detailing a child's learning difficulties and the help that will be given – before he could start his education.
But in March, after discovering the statement could be done while his son was attending school, he took Afrika to Chyngton School in Seaford – despite warnings from the local authority not to, he said.
Mr Munjanganja, originally from Zimbabwe, said he was warned he could be arrested for abandoning a child if he dropped his son off at the school.
He said: “They told me they wouldn’t take him and I would be prosecuted unless I took him home.“Now he hasn’t been to school for nearly a year. Every child in this country is entitled to an education and Afrika has missed his first year of school.
“We’ve had meetings and phone calls to try and get this statement sorted but now the council say they’ve lost all records of contact and won’t answer me.
“It’s disability discrimination and probably because we’re a black family too.”
East Sussex County Council refuted Mr Munjanganja’s claims of discrimination and said Afrika had in fact been offered a place at a specialist school.
The authority also confirmed a statement of needs had been carried out in September 2012.
An East Sussex County Council spokesman said: “A statement of special educational needs is issued when a child is identified as having additional needs to those which would usually be provided in a school.
“A detailed assessment is carried out to ascertain the most appropriate way for the child’s education to be delivered.
“In Afrika’s case, a detailed and comprehensive assessment was carried out in September 2012 and Afrika was offered a place at a school the council considers is appropriate. That place is available to him to access at any time.
“An appeal by Mr Munjanganja is currently in progress, during which he will have the chance to raise any and all issues he has in respect of this matter.
“We completely refute any claims of discrimination against Mr Munjanganja on any grounds whatsoever.”
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