English school slammed as 'disgusting' for refusing time off for boy to holiday with terminally ill mother

A school in England has been forced to apologise after they refused a request from one of their student's mothers, who was terminally ill with cancer, to take her son on one final holiday.

Angela Rose exposed on Facebook how Stanton School in Milton Keyes, which her son attends, refused her application to take her eight-year-old boy Carlo on holiday because it did not meet their "exceptional" circumstances, the Morning Bulletin reported.

The school gave her this response despite the 36-year-old mum saying she had explained she only had months to live.

"Stanton School refused my application and sent me letter below to state only in exceptional circumstances do they allow authorised attendance and if I go he will be marked down as unauthorised absence," Ms Rose wrote on Facebook.

"My question is what is exceptional circumstances if terminal cancer and possible last holiday not one [sic]?"

Ms Rose also said her son had a 98 per cent school attendance rate.

The social media post generated considerable feedback, and led to the local council contacting the school to clarify the details.

"Disgusting you go and make special memories. How bloody dare they," one person commented.

Another said "that's just bloody awful to hear".

The Stanton School head teacher was then forced to apologise for the refusal.

"Although we knew she had health issues we did not realise the full extent of them. We should have checked further - we didn't, and we're very sorry," a spokesperson for the school said.

"In the light of this we will of course grant this leave of absence, outside of normal school holiday time."

A child at school.

Joseph Parker clarifies stance on Whanganui High School racism and sexism controversy - 'I think everyone should be involved, that's my opinion'

Joseph Parker has been forced to clarify he believes "everyone should be involved" in a Whanganui High School event exclusively set up for Maori and Pasifika boys, adding he is unlikely to appear if changes aren't made.

The heavyweight boxer held his first media conference on New Zealand soil in Auckland this morning, after his defeat to Dillian Whyte in London on July 29.

Parker immediately faced a stream of questions over the Whanganui "motivational session" that has been interpreted as excluding girls, and male students from non-Maori and Pasifika backgrounds, from attending.

Parker was conscious not to directly criticise the event organisers, but indicated he wanted admission to be more inclusive if he was to appear.

"I've done visits for schools and community groups, and I can see where they're coming from, but I think it's, like David mentioned, if we go down to see the kids we'd like to see everyone," Parker said.

"Just because, some of them might be aspiring to be a boxer or might be motivated by something I might be able to say.

"I feel like everyone should be involved but I see where they're coming from and what they're trying to do."

Parker's promoter David Higgins indicated they as a team were not aware of the event being marketed as a "closed motivational session for Māori and Pasifika boys" and their fathers when they signed up - and only found out through media coverage.

Higgins indicated changes needed to be made for the event to go ahead.

"I think it's unfair to exclude say females or other races as Joseph might only visit that region once in five or 10 years," Higgins said.

"For that reason I think it should probably be inclusive, and we probably wouldn't support that particular visit if it's not inclusive and if changes aren't made." 

Responding to a question about how common these Maori and Pasifika targeted youth events were around New Zealand, the Duco promoter said Parker's profile meant events he was involved with had to be inclusive. 

"We hear what you're saying. We think because Joseph is a household name, it gives the media an opportunity to really blow it up and so we have to be careful to be seen as equal opportunity and inclusive of everyone," Mr Higgins said.

"And I think the Maori and Pasifika children can be there anyway, so what does it matter, why not have everyone there together, get the whole school assembly together."

Read the back-story on the Whanganui resident backlash to a promotional flier for the Parker event.

The Kiwi heavyweight is unlikely to speak at a Whanganui “closed motivational session for Māori and Pasifika boys” if changes aren’t made. Source: 1 NEWS


State of disability support services policy 'an absolute joke' - carer

Families caring for adult disabled children are appalled by official attempts to simplify the guidelines for how much support and money they can get.

Six months ago, the Appeal Court suggested the Health Ministry rewrite its policy for disability support services so caregivers and disabled people could understand it.

But two documents and $2760 later, families say nothing has changed.

In May, the Ministry of Health told RNZ it was mindful of the court's comments and took its responsibilities seriously.

It promised easy read versions of the Funded Family Care Guidelines and Frequently Asked Questions.

The policy requires disabled people to become an employer, even though in the Court of Appeal case the Crown accepted the employment relationship was a "mere fiction".

Diane Moody who took that case on behalf of her severely disabled adult son, Shane Chamberlain, said the documents were a joke.

"I think it's quite pathetic. The booklet is really done so that my Shane would be reading it, to tell me about Family Funding," Ms Moody said.

"Shane's not capable of doing anything like that, I just find the whole thing a joke, quite frankly an absolute joke and the little diagrams down the side are really special, not," she said.

Shane's advocate, Jane Carrigan is equally unimpressed.

She said the Court of Appeal described the ministry's policies as verging on the impenetrable and the new guidelines do not change that.

"They've developed these two 'easy read' documents that are bigger than the family bible and developed these documents on the basis of bad law," Ms Carrigan said.

The whole tone of both documents is that somebody who does not have mental capacity, can still be the employer. These documents are not targeted at the demographic of people who were before the Court of Appeal," she said.

Both documents devote at least five pages to the disabled person's responsibilities as an employer including things like KiwiSaver, ACC and tax.

Complex Care Group Trust coordinator Jan Moss represents a group which supports 250 families of children and young people who have high and complex needs.

"Very few of the documents are ever written in such a way that is inclusive of them," Mrs Moss said.

"So if Funded Family Care was supposed to be for families of people with high and complex needs, then there should be no way that that disabled person becomes their employer. And so no amount of documentation, in easy read or in any other sort of form is going to solve that problem," she said.

Few families apply for support because the process was so fraught with problems yet neither of the documents talked about how to appeal when an applicaton failed, she said.

Just 392 people receive funded family care, about a quarter of the 1600 who were thought be eligible when the policy was introduced.

Peter Humpheries cares for his 30-year-old severley disabled daughter Sian. Despite the fact she cannot speak, is intellecutally disabled and wears nappies, she is her father's employer.

Labour and the Greens need to repeal the law as they promised when it was introduced and increase the caregivers' pay rates, Mr Humphries said.

"We're tinkering with these little booklets. But we need to be tinkering with whole system," he said.

"Partners aren't allowed to do it, even civil union partners aren't allowed to paid to be caring for a disabled person. That needs to change. The rate of pay needs to change. The person who cares for their family member is still on the minimum wage," he said.

He said he wanted the ministry to re-think its attitude.

"They just seem to have this obsession that family members should look after their person if they have a disabilty, but if you put them in care then we will supply everything for them," he said.

"Things have changed, family members want their person at home, but they also want to be financially supported to be able to do that."

The Ministry of Health said the government was still considering what futher changes there might be.

Diane Moody, 76, cares for her son Shane Chamberlain full-time. Photo: RNZ / Screenshot Source: rnz.co.nz