Mum slams 'prison' school after son, 12, excluded twice 'after putting hand up without permission and talking'

A FURIOUS mum has blasted her son's "prison" school after he was allegedly excluded twice for putting his hand up without permission and talking.

Samantha Gleadow has hit out at the "excessive" rules at Walbottle Academy in Newcastle and claimed her 12-year-old son has been left with stress-induced migraines and sleepless nights due to the pressure at school.

Since Samantha's son started in Year 7 in September, she said he has had 11 detentions in the four weeks and has been excluded twice.

The mum said he has received a number of warnings and has been punished for holding his hand up in class without permission first and talking in assembly.

Samantha told Chronicle Live: "It's like the school is running a military camp or a prison.

"I have no issue with staff punishing him if he's done something wrong, but it's always extremely minor things he's being pulled up for.

"No twelve-year-old should be so stressed over going to school that they are coming into their mum's bed at night after having nightmares over going in the following morning.

"He's not a bad kid, his attendance at primary school was 98 per cent and he had glowing reviews from his teachers.

"He's never been a troublemaker or defiant, he's actually in the top sets for everything because he wants to learn. As his mother it makes me feel powerless that he is struggling so much at Walbottle."

Samantha said she hoped the school would have been more lenient on students after the disruption to their schooling during the Covid pandemic.

She said Year 7 kids "haven't had the time to get their head around the abundance of strict school rules" after transitioning from primary to secondary school.

"My biggest concern is the exclusions, because that really impacts his education," Samantha said.

"He's only been there about a month and he's already missing full days at school. He's not getting the help that he needs, he's unsupported and he's missing classes."

The mum said her son is now "scared" to go to school, and feels she has no option but to pull him out and send him somewhere else.

'CONSTANT HEADACHES'

She said: "He's not sleeping, constant headaches, nosebleeds and all of it is linked into stress the doctors have told me.

"I have three other children younger than my son, and I won't be sending them to Walbottle, point blank."

Samantha said she requested a mentor for her son to deal with his anxiety, but she claimed no action has been taken to deal with the situation.

A spokesperson from Northern Education Trust, which runs the academy, said: "We are unable to comment on individual cases, but I can confirm that the health and wellbeing of our students is paramount.

"We have a number of systems in place to support our vulnerable children and young people and we also work closely with external agencies.

"We would always encourage any parent who is concerned about their child to discuss this with either the learning manager or principal, so that appropriate support can be offered.

"As parents would expect, we do also have high expectations of behaviour, and we have received many positive comments on the difference this ethos has made to the wider school community."

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