‘Devastated’ Ramsgate mum transfers daughter from school in row over disability provision

Hannah has moved daughter Francesca to a new school

A row about allowing a St George’s pupil with registered disabilities to be dropped off by her mum in the carpark to avoid the risk of being jostled at the school gate has led to the youngster being moved to a new school.

Hannah Frost, from Ramsgate, had asked St George’s secondary to make provision for daughter Francesca, 13, to be allowed through the gates to the car park area at the start of classes.

Francesca is registered disabled. She has a clip on her heart and her brain is held up by a gauze. This is a result of open heart surgery at just 12 weeks old to save her life, and then surgery when she was four to prevent her brain slipping down her spine.

The youngster also has cerebral palsy and is missing a chromosome which causes a moderate learning disability. She also has extremely rare Pierpont syndrome which has a multitude of effects including moderate to severe global developmental delay.

Hannah, 36, says she requested the car park drop of as a safety measure for her daughter.

She said: “Fran has a lack of co-ordination. Her brain is held up by gauze and any accident with a bump could cause it to fall back down so I didn’t want her amongst hundreds of kids outside on pavement.

“She has an educational health care plan (EHCP) so the school is aware of all this. She has a moderate learning disability which means she doesn’t know left from right and road safety is a no go.

“The Equality Act of 2010  is very clear regarding reasonable adjustments for disabled people. Francesca’s EHCP clearly states her needs and her vulnerability but they wanted my incredibly vulnerable child to line up outside the school where she could be placed at risk of harm.”

‘In tears’

Hannah says her request for the car park drop off point was refused because the school said keeping the car park closed was part of covid-safe measures. The school did provide a member of staff to go outside and watch Fran while she was waiting to be picked up but her mum says there was a near accident.

Hannah said: “The staff member saw me and walked inside. Fran began to follow my car and a different member of staff shouted for her to move to the left and then had to grab her shoulders and quickly move her to safety from an elderly person going fast on mobility scooter.”

Hannah says staff and pupils are allowed to drive in and park so she is bewildered about why Francesca could not be dropped off there.

She added: “I was told people coming in was by appointment only so said make her an appointment for every morning and we will be there on time.”

She says the way the incident has been dealt with has left her feeling ‘hurt’ and her child ‘in tears.’

The mum-of-five is now lodging a (SEND) tribunal against St George’s School for disability discrimination and has completed transfer papers for Francesca to start at Royal Harbour Academy on Monday.

She said: “My request for reasonable adjustment to drop Francesca into the school grounds and safely on site was not a huge ask and would have met the needs of her disability. I feel she has been discriminated against and am devastated and angry.

“She will now start Royal Harbour Academy on Monday with full disabled access to the car park and a disability parking pass.”

‘Unprecedented times’

St George’s head Adam Mirams said: “On Tuesday, September 1 we welcomed all pupils back to St George’s Church of England Foundation School following the summer holidays and a period when, like all schools in the country, we were closed to the majority of pupils due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our priority, as always, is the safety and well-being of all our pupils and staff and we have implemented a number of new measures, in line with Government guidance, to ensure every member of our school community is safe and happy in school.

“We have staggered arrival and departure times to minimise the number of children and young people who are moving through the gates and the doors at the same time. We have also asked parents and carers who drive their children to school not to drive onto the site to reduce traffic movement in the school grounds.

“We will always try to work closely with families and the Local Authority to ensure that reasonable adjustments can be made in individual cases given the changing situation.

“These are unprecedented times and it is not always possible to get everything right for everybody, given the size of the school population. We recognise that some pupils, parents and carers will have concerns around returning to school in September and we continue to work very hard, as a whole school community, to ensure all pupils are safe at all times while on the school site, both in the classroom and outside.”


  1. This is utterly disgraceful and the Head and staff at St George’s School should be so ashamed that they have failed to provide a safe environment for this vulnerable pupil, even before the child entered the school building! As a teacher myself who taught Francesca’s mum, Hannah,I know what Hannah and her family have been through and continue to go through to ensure that Francesca receives the safe medical and educational provision that is the right of every pupil, not just those children with disabilities, and I am shocked that this family has been treated so shabbily!

  2. I find it awful that the school is eager to take extra money for SEND pupils but not willing to support their needs as written in their personal EHCP’s. It is a disgrace that their is no excuse from. I wish Francesca’s mum well with her tribunal on discrimination grounds and Francesca all the best at The Royal Harbour Academy. It’s a shame this was not dealt with appropriately from the start with the childs needs forefront above all else.

  3. It’s all very well making a big fuss and I can understand the concerns of the mother for her child. However here we are at the start of going back to school after months of being at home, I guess in the St George’s school uniform then the child is taken from that school to another school in a matter of days needing another school uniform . Why could the mother not arrive at the school early enough to safely collect her daughter at the end of the day and walk her up to an agreed point to go into school at the start of the day. I have no doubt that when this dreadful virus has gone there will be more flexible ways of doing things but at the moment a little bit of give and take would have been far more beneficial
    Than having the upset of suddenly changing schools I feel sorry for the upset the child has had over this and wish her good health and happiness.

  4. I used to know Hannah years ago and she is a lovely Lady and would have tried her best to find a sensible solution as a father of a disabled child myself, I always find it tricky to deal with those that don’t have a disabled child. They just don’t understand the basic level we have to go to daily to just do the normal things they take for granted plus everything feels like a fight. Healthcare, education being the biggest two but depending on the child even simple things like days out can be daunting with many places not having changing facilities. Schools and hospitals are the two places (at the very least) where parents of less able children should not have to fight and get the most help.

    I wish Hannah all the luck and I hope Francesca has a happy and healthy time.

  5. The problem really is due to council planners over the years. Why have they permitted 3 secondary schools and 2 primary within such close proximity?

  6. This is very upsetting to read and my heart goes out to this family. Unfortunately we had to remove our child from this school due to a lack of understanding and acceptance of disability and I am aware of numerous famillies within this school who have who have a child with a disability and are being discriminated against. Also shocking as they are a recepitent of a nurture award yet lack any care and compassion. If you question this school’s policies and precedures you are told to fall in line or take your child elsewhere. So awful that this young girl has had to do this. The concern is that she will not be the last. I hope Francesca enjoys her new school and that the trauma of this does not have any long lasting effects. All the best to Hannah and Francesca

  7. The head teachers reply was disappointing. He did not address the situation.Bad reputations are very hard to get rid off. This school needs to do more.

    • Unfortunately that is a standard reply to any reasonable request or the all time favourite of the school….if you don’t like it move your child!!

  8. Hannah, I feel for you. My son has moderate learning difficulties and has faced nothing but discrimination from his various schools and after school clubs. In my experience, the adults are worse than the kids. I really hope you will succeed in your tribunal case and shine a light on the appalling practices in schools which directly and indirectly discriminate against disabled children.

  9. Sadly this is nothing new for this school. Their idea of being inclusive is quite frankly shocking. Many parents will tell you the same.

  10. This is discrimination and should not be allowed to blight another child. We had dealings with HT. Has the demeanour of Donald trump mixed with a car Salesman!! Hasn’t got the intelligence to run a bath let alone a school. He has surrounded himself with friends and family so that nobody will challenge him. I hope that Hannah’s case goes all the way to shine a light on this schools massive failings. Bring back Kim Stoner. This guy hides behind his facade of Christian values but he has the least of anyone there.

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