‘Let me go to school’ - heartbreaking plea of Sheffield child

The mum of a seven-year-old girl with a genetic disorder so rare it has no name is pleading with school staff to let her daughter come back to learn.

Leona McMillan, aged seven, and her mum Jayne McMillan, of Southey.

Following months of operations, hospital stays and ill health, Leona McMillan is currently missing out on an education as discussions about her future drag on.

The youngster had previously attended Grenoside Primary in Sheffield, but for just four hours a day due to medical reasons.

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Mum Jayne said: “Leona is a really intelligent girl and school is the brightest thing in her life.

“Each day she gets up and asks me if she can go to school – she gets so fed up of being stuck at home.”

Jayne, of Sheffield, said she believes the school has been doing its best to help, but that staff insist they don’t have the skills to cope with Leona’s special medical needs - she has to be fed through an intravenous tube which needs attention in a sterile environment.

Jayne said her daughter had started school normally when she was five, but had since had operations on her bladder, hip and bowel, putting her in hospital for months at a time.

Currently she can go for only five hours a day without being on her nutritional tube.

Jayne has also been told Moss Brook Special School is unable to meet her daughter’s specific needs and she does not feel another alternative, Woolley Wood Special School, is appropriate.

“It’s such a shame because Leona loves school and she doesn’t understand what’s going on.

“I just think she deserves to have an education. Leona is very brave, she never cries and never complains, and she gets so down,” she said

A Sheffield Council spokesman refused to respond in detail to Jayne’s concerns.

He said: “We cannot comment on individual cases as there are issues of confidentiality which arise. However the headteacher and chair of the governing body at Grenoside have confirmed the school is keen to work with all parents to ensure children are in learning every day.”