By Joanne Warnock
A vulnerable child with special needs sparked a frantic search after escaping from Dyce primary school last week.
The ten year-old pupil Noah Rae managed to slip-away from teachers at the School – for almost half an hour – and was only found after an employee at Dyce shopping centre recognised the child and rang his mother to tell him where he was – in Asda.
Noah’s mother Emma Rae, 35, was shocked to receive the phone call towards the end of the school day and immediately rang the school.
She said: “The office staff didn’t know anything about it. I think he’d been away for about half-an-hour.
“He shouldn’t be getting the opportunity to be getting away. It’s not the right school for him.”
Noah was diagnosed with Coffin-Siris Syndrome only a few years ago, a rare genetic disorder that means he requires one-on-one attention.
His parents have been pushing for him to be moved out of the inclusive mainstream school, his father Matthew Rae said:
We knew something like this would happen in the future. Our worry is that he could get even further, the River Don isn’t that much further away.
“We wanted him to go to Mile End for school, but the application form for his school place wasn’t passed to Raeden to add comment. Instead the Dyce Head teacher we had then made out on the form that he was like any other mildly affected child with special needs.
Mum Emma said:
“It was ridiculous. He was still in nappies, he couldn’t talk and had walking difficulties and various other issues. But by the time I got hold of the application, it was too late and all the school allocations had been made.”
“I was told that I would have to accept the place at Dyce in the special needs base.”
“He’s not coping at Dyce. Its common sense that he should be at the school that would meet all his needs and be more beneficial to him.”
Concerned parents have urged the Council to take action and hurry along proposed plans for a fence around the school.
Councillor Graeme Lawrence said: “It’s something that needs to be pushed on. I’ll be asking for a report on the situation, but I’m pretty sure that it’s the only school in the city that hasn’t got a fence to keep people in.”
Mark MacDonald Donside MSP and Dyce school parent said:
“Clearly any incident which involves a child running away from school is concerning.
“Where that child has additional needs it adds in the concern around the increased vulnerability of that child.
“I am aware that the question of security at Dyce Primary is one that has been on the agenda of the parent council for some time, and I hope that the city council will be able to provide some clarity around timescale as soon as possible.”
Noah’s escape has raised further safety fears over the security of the Community School and that of its completely wide-open playground.
An incident earlier this year where two people tried to set-fire to the adjoining Police Station forced the school to close to pupils after the suspects made off through the middle of the school playground.
Aberdeen City Council services manager for Assets and Finance Andrew Jones spoke at the Dyce Parent Council AGM on Tuesday and apologised for the length of time the application had taken thus far.
He said: “There have been issues with public rights of way through the playground and a ransom strip of land adjacent to the school grounds.
“Consultation with the wider Community is needed. We need to get everybody on board with the proposed fence position, but timescale wise we are looking at completion within 12 months.”
Noah’s mum Emma said: “It’s a worry that he will run away, he does it with me.
“I’ve had to make my house like Fort Knox so he can’t get out.”