School delay nearly over for disabled girl

April Birch with her daughter, Lauren, who will finally start primary school at the end of the month

April Birch with her daughter, Lauren, who will finally start primary school at the end of the month

First published in News by

A disabled Keighley girl has finally had the date confirmed for her to start primary school.

Five-year-old Lauren Birch is due to begin at Laycock Primary School on April 28.

Her parents have been struggling to gain a school place for Lauren since early 2013. Bradford Council said the delay was caused by the need to agree and arrange the necessary disability alterations at the school.

Lauren, who lives in Knowle Park, has cystic fibrosis, along with a second genetic condition that stops her brain developing.

She has very limited vocabulary and needs a frame and adult assistance to help her walk. She was offered a place at Laycock Primary in December last year, but could not begin immediately as the school first needed to finish installing adaptations to make its premises accessible for her.

While waiting for her school place to become available, Lauren has had to remain at a nursery, despite being significantly older than the other children there.

This week, her mother, April Birch, 32, said: “It’s definitely a good thing for Lauren to be going to school at last.

“She needs school, as she’s done with nursery – she’s too advanced for that now.

“It’ll be good for us to know where she’ll be for the next few years.

“The school is building a new staff toilet block and first aid room so a toilet can be freed up for children with disabilities.

“That work is going on now, so it’s only a hiccup in the building that would stand in the way of Lauren starting on the 28th.

“Lauren loves nursery and loves the staff there, but she does have three cousins at Laycock, so she’s excited at the idea of being with them.

“We’ve been out to buy her school uniform and we’re just on with getting her a PE kit.”

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