West Lothian mum claims school repeatedly 'lost' her 12-year-old son

A West Lothian mum claims her 12-year-old son has been let down by the education system since the age of four.

Jamie Scott, 41, from Livingston, is a qualified learning disability nurse, and alleges that West Lothian Council have had a catalogue of errors when dealing with Tristan who suffers with ADHD and autism.

The mother-of-six has accused the council of ‘losing her son’ and allowing him to get into dangerous situations during his time in primary and also claims that she had to pull her son out of a school after he suffered racist abuse.

Since Tristan started high school, Jamie has pleaded with the council to move him to a specialist additional support (ASN) needs school in the area but she says that her calls have fallen on deaf ears with education officials convinced that his academic needs can be met in a mainstream setting.

The worried mum also claims that her son has been let down as Tristan has not attained the level of educational development for his age.

Jamie has alleged that her son was able to ‘hang from blind cords’ above gym climbing frames while at school, to swing from atop a metal spiked fence and to escape on several occasions.

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West Lothian Council have said that they are aware of the difficulties relating to Tristan’s education and state they were unaware of some of the claims made by Jamie but are committed to investigating every historic incident.

“Tristant started at a mainstream setting and he was excluded within eight weeks as they were unable to handle him,” Jamie said. “I requested that he go into an ASN school due to his autism and ADHD but I was not listened to.

“We then moved him to another school as I had older children that had gone there and I trusted the head teacher. He again struggled in this setting as he is a flight risk and cannot handle the business and environment of mainstream.

“He managed to escape on several occasions, I would have regular meetings with the school, but he was able to escape into the grounds. I’d get phone calls to come to try and find him.

“I received a call one day and they had told me that he had managed to climb up the PE apparatus and he got the blind cords caught around his feet. Luckily he was one on one at this time or he could have ended up hanging himself.

“It was after this that we were given an ASN placement at another school. He was there for two to three years and at the time I was studying to become a disability nurse but we again ran into problems with him escaping.

“I received a call to tell me to get down to the school one day as he was swinging for six foot fences that had spikes at the top of them. I had to get a taxi to the school and try to talk him down.

“On another occasion he managed to escape and get a hold of a garden rake. On another he was found jumping from roof to roof on small wooden huts within the school grounds - he could have seriously hurt himself.

“His behaviour could not be controlled when at the school and he would run riot, pouring paint over teachers. The final straw for me though was when he was continuously racially abused, being called a ‘black b*****d.’”

Jamie says that she told the council that her son would need to be placed in other ASN school that could handle his behaviour and meet his needs.

He was eventually put into a classroom for autistic children at a primary and although he was racially abused again, he was able to remain in the school until he attended high school.

Jamie says that she tried to fight for her son to be kept back a year as she felt he was not ready for the move to secondary.

But she claims she was ignored and after being weakened by a fight with sepsis, which hospitalised the mother, she gave in to the council’s demands for him to go to mainstream last year.

Jamie hoped that her son would be given a place at Cedar Bank, a school that specialises in dealing with ASN children, but her request was not granted.

“I felt like I was totally ignored and after a long fight I had to give in due to the issues around my health,” she said. “I told them he would not manage and I held him out of school for a period but after mediation it was decided he would go to Deans.

“He had a staggered intake, at first he went in for one full day and he was enjoying it and coping then. But then we started to add days and when he went up to two and a half the school somehow managed to lose him.

“Tristan has a strict risk assessment that says he is a flight risk and he should be supervised at all times. The first time they lost him I got a call to say he did not show up for fourth period but they later told me they found him in the toilets.

“His days were put up to three and a half but in March (2024) I received a call again that said they had lost him and that he had essentially turned the whole school into a game of chasey. I had to go down to the school myself but I suffer from mobility issues so it was difficult to chase him.

“There were janitors, office staff and teachers chasing him around the grounds. I had to call one of his older siblings to tell him to leave class and help look for him.

“I was so concerned as Tristan does not have any understanding or awareness of safety. The chase lasted three and a half hours, he was running riot that whole time.

“After managing to calm Tristan down I told the school he would not be back. I warned them that this was not good enough and I could see in the teachers faces that they knew they could not handle him even though they were unable to say it.

“He has not been in school since.”

Jamie claims that her son has not only been let down in the level of care that he has received but that he has also not been given a good enough standard of education.

She says she has since issued a complaint and is demanding that her son be placed in an educational setting that would be able to control his flight risk, ensure his safety and develop him academically.

“There has to be a resolution to this because at the moment Tristan does not have a school and he cannot return to a mainstream secondary,” she added. “There are clear safeguarding issues at the moment and it is not good enough.

“His education has centred around physical activity too much and he is not developing academically. I feel like we are back to square one and he has just been let down.

“He needs to feel safe and secure.”

The council say they have been in regular contact with Jamie regarding Tristan’s education and remain committed to finding the correct solution.

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A West Lothian council spokesperson said: “We aim to deliver high quality education and support to all West Lothian children who attend our schools.

“Where additional support needs (ASN) are identified, we will ensure that appropriate individual planning to meet the child is undertaken, which can be in mainstream Primary and Secondary schools, Enhanced resource bases or within our six dedicated ASN schools.

“We have been in regular contact with this parent over a placing request, and hope to agree the most appropriate location for the continuing education of their child. Our Head of Service for Education has offered to personally meet with them to discuss their concerns, and we hope this offer will be accepted.

“This is the first time we have been made aware of some of these historic issues, and we will ask the parent to provide any evidence they have to allow us to ensure they are all investigated fully.”