A ROSYTH mum says time is running out if her son isn't to face social isolation when he moves up to high school.

Eight-year-old Camdean Primary pupil Frankie Haddow is confined to a wheelchair but Inverkeithing High School is currently inaccessible for disabled children.

Unless a replacement high school is built in time for him to enter S1, he’ll have no choice but to go to Dunfermline High where he won’t know a soul.

In Frankie’s own words: “I just want to go to school with my friends, I want to be the same, I want to walk but I can’t ... so why should I be made to go to a different high school? 
“I won’t know anyone and I won’t be with my class who look after me.” 

Mum Nicola told the Press: “It’s a battle that he should not have to face, he has enough battles to face already.

"I’m trying to teach him that he can still do anything he wants with his life, so it is frustrating when he faces a problem like this which means he can’t go to a school where all his friends are going.

“As Frankie’s mum I will do anything I can to make life better for him but then I realised that currently there is no accessible catchment high school for any disabled children living Aberdour, Dalgety Bay, Inverkeithing and Rosyth. That’s seven primary schools! In this day and age, I cannot find the words to express how disappointing, embarrassing, humiliating, frustrating and discriminating this is.”

Frankie suffered Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis, a virus that attacks the spinal cord and central nervous system just before he was two. The family is now coming to terms with the reality that he won’t be able to walk. 

“He is struggling psychologically, he thought he was going to walk again but that’s not going to happen,” Nicola said. 

“He wants to run with his friends but he can’t. It’s beginning to sink in and he’s really struggling with that. So to tell him he can’t go to high school with the rest of his pals is causing major stress and upset for him.”

Fife Council is asking for the public’s views on the future of the West Fife schools estate. Plans include replacing Inverkeithing High and delivering a joint campus with Fife College, Woodmill and St Columba’s. 

Nicola fears that education services will not get the funding for both projects and a joint campus will go ahead as a priority. 

“The joint campus seems like a great, new, innovative way of teaching but I feel the funding would be used best to make other catchment high schools fully-inclusive for all pupils,” Nicola added. 

“To make friends as a teenager is hard enough and I worry for Frankie as a disabled teen away from his friends. 

“They’ve got four years to build a replacement high school but right now I’ve got the dilemma of deciding whether to move him now just so he might know some people at Dunfermline.”

Head of education and children's services Shelagh McLean commented: "We are currently carrying out engagement sessions regarding the concept of a joint learning campus with Fife College, including the replacement of Woodmill and St Columbas’s high schools, and options to replace Inverkeithing HS.

"No one project has been prioritised over the others, at this time. Any replacement secondary schools, in this area, will be fully accessible and will meet all the current building regulations. 

"Fife Council’s policy is to have at least one fully-accessible school in each geographical area and over the Dunfermline and South and West Fife areas we have two. In circumstances where a catchment school is not currently fully accessible, our access officer will work with families to make sure that a school is adjusted, where this is practical, or to identify the most appropriate facilities to meet the young person's needs. Enhanced transition is provided for pupils who may, therefore, attend a school that is not their catchment school."