‘Mother urges school funding for ME pupils’

December 7, 2007

From the ‘Bournemouth Echo' – Thursday, December 6

AN EAST Dorset mother is calling on the government to give schools more funding to help young people suffering from ME chronic fatigue, after her daughter was crippled by the disease.

June Minton says she has spent the last five years trying to get adequate support for teenage daughter Annabel, who suffers severe pain when she walks, and cannot manage stairs on her own.

June says Annabel's school, Ferndown Upper, has tried its very best to accommodate the 15-year-old but says the safety net of social services and general medical advice have failed and her daughter's education and future life chances are suffering.

The single parent from St Lives, said: "My daughter is a lovely girl, mature, brave, intelligent and kind. She is practical and caring.

"We just need more support with her education and practical help until she is well again which I, and she, do believe will happen gradually.

"I know of several people with this who are now leading normal lives again, or nearly so."

Annabel's problems started five years ago when she contracted glandular fever and never regained full health.

June claims that an initial misdiagnosis of her condition delayed the little help later offered to Annabel, worsening her illness.

And she says she had to find out all about the illness herself from lack of guidance from doctors.

The teenager has been on extended GCSE study leave at home since January, but prior to that only managed 20 per cent attendance because she couldn't move around the school.

Head teacher, Alex Willis, said: "I agree with Ms Minton's call for more funding for schools. We have disabled access and lifts in school and we've had several wheelchair users go through with great success.

"But in Annabel's case, even though she has ME she's not entitled to additional funding and what she needs are human resources – her own assistant – to help her get about the school because she does not have the strength."

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