Tilly Carrie claims her non-verbal toddler Ace was told his taking part could “spoil it for the other children”, and the angry mum says another boy who also can’t speak was excluded too
Image: MEDIUM BPM)
An outraged mum claims her little son was excluded from taking part in a Christmas play by a nursery because he can’t speak.
Tilly Carrie has spoken out after saying Ashmore Park Nursery in Wolverhampton, west Midlands, stopped three-year-old Ace from taking part in the Christmas event.
She explained to BlackCountyLive that the lad was told his taking part could “spoil it for the other children.”
The parent has lodged a complaint with the nursery, which is rated Outstanding by Ofsted – but the local council says every effort was made to include him.
The mum-of-two says Ace is non-verbal, although his condition has not yet been officially diagnosed.
Ms Carrie claims another boy who also couldn’t speak was excluded from the play at the nursery, too.
An internal investigation took place but it said that the nursery acted in line with its protocol.
Ms Carrie has since moved her son to a new nursery where she says he is “very happy”.
But the 30-year-old feels her son was discriminated against and now she is planning to appeal the decision with the school’s board of governors. A new investigation by the nursery is now under way.
The nursery said the event was a Christmas event and not a nativity play.
“He is not diagnosed autistic but he is on the pathway, he is in the middle of the diagnosis,” she added.
“He is non-verbal at the moment., he can’t speak and uses sign language. They excluded him and another non-verbal boy from the play because they said he couldn’t talk and would spoil it for the ‘normal kids’ ‘.”
Ms Carrie said she only found out about the decision two days before the play was due to take place, on December 18, when she was called to the nursery’s office. “I had no idea they were going to exclude him,” she said.
“I was actually looking forward to watching him and seeing how they would include him in the play. They said ‘just to let you know, Ace can’t take part in the play’.
“They said ‘Ace won’t stick to the play, he will spoil it for the other children’. I was shocked as it was so unexpected – I went to the nursery the next day and said ‘you can’t discriminate him against like that’.
“It says on their website that they are able to include all children, whether they have got special education needs (or not).” Ms Carrie claims the nursery offered to hold a separate nativity play just for Ace and the other child but she refused.
“I said if they are not good enough for the main play, I don’t want them to have their own play, that is discrimination,” she said. She says the nursery was going to “take away” the boys to a different room while the play took place but she and the other mum took their children to a play center instead of on the day.
The nursery has a policy on its website stating it “strives to be fully inclusive for all its children and actively seeks to remove barriers to learning and participation, which could hinder or exclude individual children or groups of children.”
Although the incident took place in December, Ms Carrie received a letter from the nursery on March 31 stating that an internal investigation had been carried out.
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The letter was signed by the chair of the school’s board of governors, Cllr Phil Bateman. The nursery is governed by the Ashmore Park and Phoenix Nursery Schools Federation.
Cllr Bateman said he was satisfied that the senior leadership team “who were involved in your formal complaint, tried to mitigate and ameliorate the situation”.
He said he was also satisfied that the nursery had “complied with processes and policies” adopted by the board, concluding: “I’m sorry that this matter has come to this situation and that you and Ace have been upset by the issue.”
Ms Carrie said she will continue fighting for her son’s rights. She added: “It spoiled my Christmas.
“My son doesn’t have a voice at the moment, I am his voice. There are ways that he could have been included in the play before excluding him.
“I feel like they wanted the perfect play but took away the joy of three-year-olds getting into the Christmas spirit.”
The nursery is run by Wolverhampton Council. In response, a spokesperson for the council said: “The youngster was able to take part in a wide range of special activities which were held at Ashmore Park Nursery over the festive period, including a Christmas party, festive crafts and a puppet show.
“The school maintains that every effort was made to enable him to participate in the Christmas stories and songs session in a way that would not be detrimental to his health and wellbeing, but that the adjustments suggested were declined by the parent. The school regrets any upset caused by all parties involved.
“Given that there is an ongoing investigation into the matter, it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time.”