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Councillor steps in to defend Moray school amid lawsuit controversy

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A Moray councillor has claimed a bitter argument over the treatment of a vulnerable youngster could reinforce the need for a specialised school in the region.

Elgin mum, Nicola Nash, is planning to sue Moray Council, saying her son, Kai, was left “emotionally scarred” by his time at Hythehill Primary in Lossiemouth.

She lashed out after a council investigation concluded that staff showed a “negative approach” towards the nine-year-old, who has been diagnosed as “neurologically atypical”.

However, former Hythehill pupil, and current Elgin City South councillor, James Allan, has spoken up in support of his alma mater.

Mr Allan has retained close ties with the school and insists staff went “beyond the call of duty” in trying to help Kai, whose condition means he is prone to extreme bouts of anxiety.

And he suggested that the wrangle over the Elgin youngster’s education could spark calls for a separate school for children with learning difficulties.

Mr Allan said: “Building a specialised school for these kinds of children is something that the council has discussed before and could look into again.

“That would maybe help, and it’s something that I know other authorities have been investigating.”

He added: “Hythehill is an autism-accredited school, and its successes outnumber its failures substantially.

“Children, who have struggled to last a morning at other schools have thrived there.

“Staff tried their best for Kai, and are disappointed that Mrs Nash feels they let him down.”

Kai was withdrawn from Hythehill by his mother, shortly after he returned to the school this summer, and following the removal of his one-to-one supervision.

During the first three weeks of school, he ran away three times. And the mum-of-three added she was shocked to discover Kai had been shut in a room for more than an hour after he reacted angrily to having a book taken away from him.

Moray Council vowed to carry out retraining, following the investigation into Kai’s time at Hythehill, and apologised to his family.

In 2015, the authority’s corporate director of education and social care, Laurence Findlay, raised the prospect of segregating children with learning difficulties into specialised schools.

He said an increasing number of pupils requiring additional help posed a “significant challenge” to staff and also placed a strain on budgets.

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