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June 23, 2005

7-year battle won as school place found for deaf boy

From: Exmouth Journal - UK - Jun 23, 2005

AN EXMOUTH mother is celebrating winning a seven-year battle to find her deaf son a vital place at a special school, writes Tim Platt.

Tracy Jones, 44, of New Street, had moved from Cornwall in a desperate last-ditch attempt to find her son Jordan a classroom place.

Now Jordan, 12, is looking forward to taking his place at Exeter's Royal School for the Deaf after finally being offered a spot last week.

The move by school bosses comes after an independent panel, organised by Devon County Council, recommended the authority fund Jordan's place.

It also marks a milestone for his mum who can return to work after quitting the NHS to care for the youngster.

Tracy said: "This is the end of a long road for us. I just hope that Jordan will knuckle down now.

"He has been left to his own devices for so long, he will have to relearn everything."

Jordan was diagnosed as profoundly deaf at the aged of three.

He has since encountered behavioural problems and now communicates through sign language.

Problems have included Jordan being arrested for truancy by police in Exmouth although no further action was taken.

Tracy moved from Cornwall in May in the hope of gaining a place at the school for the deaf but was told it had no vacancies.

She then approached the county council who agreed to arrange the independent panel to review his case.

Jordan now faces readjusting to the classroom despite being told his reading age is equivalent to that of a six-year-old.

Royal School for the Deaf deputy principal David Irwin said: "We have offered Jordan a place. Devon County Council has sent us the paperwork. Jordan has come to see us and we are very pleased to have him here."

Jordan was awarded his place at the school following an assessment by trained staff last week.

His mother is now hoping to settle in Exmouth and put her family's nightmare behind them.

She added: "It's caused me a lot of anguish. This whole thing has made me very, very ill trying to keep up with what has been going on.

"I've moved through three counties trying to secure a place at a specialist school for Jordan, including Hampshire, Cornwall and now Devon."

"Finally I will be able to get back to work."

The Royal School for the Deaf has 82 pupils aged seven to 22 at its base in Topsham Road, in Exeter.

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