King Solomon head wins aid for pupil

By Jennifer Lipman, September 20, 2012

The headteacher of King Solomon High School has criticised Newham Council for failing to provide the necessary support to enable a pupil with disabilities due to a cancerous growth to continue attending the school.

Suhaila Khamis, who is wheelchair-bound with a tumour in her spine and stomach, and needs help to move around and use the disabled toilets, will be able to stay on at the Redbridge School following the intervention by head Spencer Lewis.

The 11-year-old’s mother said she had been told by Newham Council — her local borough — that they were not planning to provide a learning assistant to enable her to attend the Jewish school.

“She requires constant help. I cannot see how she is not a child in desperate need,” said Mr Lewis. After receiving a letter from Mr Lewis, in which he criticised the council for its “staggering” position, the council agreed to review her case. In the interim, before a permanent arrangement is reached, a relative will fund the necessary support.

“I was quite surprised at how difficult it was to liaise with Newham,” said Mr Lewis. “Suhaila is a student with complex needs who has settled really well into KSHS. She has made friends and has been welcomed by staff and students alike. I am pleased to say that we are now working closely with Newham to get the situation resolved as quickly as possible so that Suhaila can manage at school.”

A council spokesman said: “Newham prides itself on its fully accessible schools and our work to ensure the best education for all children, including those with special educational needs.”

Suhaila is one of the around 40 per cent of non-Jewish pupils at KSHS, which was rated by Ofsted as good in most categories and outstanding in others in a 2010 inspection.

Last updated: 12:51pm, September 20 2012