Mother and daughter to benefit from education changes

Marie Cavalier with daughter Annie, at home in Barkisland.
Marie Cavalier with daughter Annie, at home in Barkisland.

The EHC plan won’t just be applied to children with statements in special schools like Wood Bank - but to those children with Special Educational Needs attending mainstream schools as well.

One of those will be four-year-old Annie Cavalier, who this year started at Barkisland Primary School.

Annie has Sturge Weber Syndrome, which is a rare neurological disorder, and as a result has uncontrolled epilepsy. At her worst she was having 140 seizures a day despite being on three anti-seizure drugs.

She attends between two and five hospital appointments a week, and at the moment receives a full statement, meaning she gets 32 and a half hours of one-to-one care in the classroom.

Annie’s mum Marie, 33, worked with the pathfinder when it was first set up.

“It was a fantastic process to go through,” she said. “I worked alongside people from Parents and Carers. It was really good.

“It focuses on every single aspect of your child and what they aspire to be.

“It looks over the whole family, not just the disabled child,” Marie added - paying a mention to her other child Joshua, six.

“I do think there’s a lot of people out there who aren’t armed with information because they don’t know where to go,” she said.

“When you’re dealing with a child with any form of disability it’s a full time job.

“Parents and carers have been fantastic for me.

“The way that Calderdale had approached this was really, really good and all the parents that had taken part in it felt the benefits.

Marie said that what she had learned had helped her make the best decisions for Annie.

She said: “I didn’t want her to start school without that support and by giving that support it’s enabled her to go to mainstream school.

“I don’t think she’d be able to spread her wings that much if she was in a special school. Annie will be at Barkisland School while it’s fit for her to do that. I hope she’s only going to flourish.

“It’s just making the information more available for parents.”