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November 19th 2001 - 15:10 GMT

Lifeline For Excluded Kids

It's a sad fact that many youngsters with ADD/ADHD end up being excluded from mainstream and special schools, often because of disruptive behaviour. Parents have a hard enough struggle to cope with schools when their children are in education but this is nothing compared to difficulties faced when the establishment turns its back on them. This is not true in all cases of course and many Local Education Authorities try very hard to cope with an extremely difficult problem.

One of the biggest problems facing LEA's is the cost involved in providing an education to these unfortunate children. With many Pupil Referral Units in the UK, heavily oversubscribed and privately run special schools charging anything up to 1000 a week, often children are left with nothing for weeks, months and sometimes years.

With the new power of internet communication however, there may now be a real cost effective solution to providing these children with the education they need. Formerly known as Gridlink, an internet school now provides a real full time or part time education over the net. In 2000 a charity took control of Gridlink. Learning Director, Dr. Carolyn Skilling told

"Gridlink was taken over by the National Association for the Education of Sick Children in April 2000. We renamed the company The Satellite School in April 2001 and moved to new offices near East Midlands Airport in October this year."

Further details of how and what The Satellite School provides is explained in a copy of a case study that has been prepared recently by BECTa (British Educational Communications and Technology Agency) for the National Grid for Learning. Click here to read this study.

In an email interview with Dr. Skilling told us:

"Our service is available across the UK. We have taught a number of pupils with ADHD, Aspergers, Autistic tendencies, Dyslexia, School phobia, School refusal etc. and in each case the experience has been successful.

The Local Authorities that we currently work with are Hertfordshire, Worcestershire, Nottinghamshire, Thurrock, Brighton & Hove, Plymouth, Warwickshire. UK Parent clients live in the West Midlands, Cheshire, Oxfordshire, London, Scotland and Northern Ireland. We also have students living in the USA, Japan, Brazil, China, Ghana and Zimbabwe.

We have a current DfES -funded project in the East Midlands offering a free assessment of the educational levels and curriculum gaps for pupils with medical needs. This applies to Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Northamptonshire. We would be delighted to hear from any parents in those geographical areas."

With a price tag of 135 to 150 a week, this must be a real cost effective solution for educating kids that for whatever reason find themselves being educated at home. Contact details for The Satellite School are as follows:

Address: The Satellite School, Regus House, Herald Way, Pegasus Business Park, Castle Donington, Derbyshire DE74 2TZ
Contact name: Dennis Ohwariovbe
Telephone: 01332 638599
Web Site URL:

Simon Hensby for

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