UPDATE: AFTER a day of intense meetings with the Queensland Department of Education and school leaders, Purga mother Ruth Christodoulou was happy to report the school will apply for funding to support her son Nixon.

Nixon's mother said representatives from the Department of Education met with her on Tuesday afternoon and finally promised the school would apply for Emergent Behaviour funding, worth $1000.

Although the funding is a step forward, Ms Christodoulou hopes for more financial support for staff at the school in addition to the one-off $1000.

"They have always done everything together. They share a bond that is unquestionable," she said lof her twins on Channel 7.

"Fantastic news, we had meetings and Nixon's supports will be met.

"I will not stop here."

Earlier this week Ms Christodoulou voiced her concerns after she felt her son was "pressured" to leave his state school due to his disability.

Initially, she said, Peak Crossing State School told her they could take her five-year-old son Nixon, who has Down syndrome, and his twin brother Bentley.

Four weeks into the boys' classes, Ms Christodoulou said the principal "pressured" her into putting Nixon into special school.

Peak Crossing State School will apply for funding to keep Nixon in Prep.
Peak Crossing State School will apply for funding to keep Nixon in Prep.

Trish Weatherhead from Peak Crossing State School P & C also offered comment, saying that other children would also benefit from Nixon staying with his state school peers.

"It teaches them it's okay to be different," Ms Weatherhead said.

"It's okay to have a disability and that it doesn't make you better or worse than anybody else."

Ms Christodoulou thanked all those who supported her son's cause.

"First off I would like to thank all of the public with the overwhelming support and also the QT for doing the story," she said.

"I will say this issue runs much deeper than Nixon and no matter who we are or what we do we must always have the right to choose.

"My aim is to advocate for children with all needs to have a choice in their life, after all we are all human.

"The state needs a slight shake up with the funding state schools need to help their teachers and teacher aids."

While the Queensland Department of Education stress that Nixon was never formally asked to leave the school, his mother said she felt pressure from the principal to move him to special school.

"My fight was always about inclusion but to also have the aids in place to do so," Ms Christodoulou said.

"Our and all children are our future and shape our world. I think that is worth fighting for."

The regional school will apply for additional funding to accommodate Nixon, a gesture his mum says is all her family ever wanted.
 

Ruth Christodoulou with her five-year-old son Nixon.
Ruth Christodoulou with her five-year-old son Nixon. Inga Williams

 

TUESDAY: THE mother of a boy with Down syndrome is furious at the response offered to her from the Department of Education after her son was "pressured" to leave his state school.

Last week Ruth Christodoulou was told her five-year-old son Nixon should go to special should instead of Peak Crossing State School.

The Purga mother said, despite the school initially encouraging her son to enrol, the principal had now told her the school didn't have enough funding or resources to care for Nixon.

She said the principal Judd Mackie "pressured" her into enroling her son into special school and has now hit back at the Department of Education's response to her claims.

Mr Mackie has since taken leave.

Without commenting specifically on additional funding for Nixon's individual case, a spokesperson for the Department of Education and Training said all parents had a right to enrol their child in their local state school.

"The Department promotes inclusive education practices to ensure all students with a disability are able to access, participate and succeed in education on the same basis as their peers," the spokesperson said.

"The student has been enrolled in the Prep program at Peak Crossing State School since May, and is still enrolled. The school has put a range of support measures in place."

The QT asked if the principal Mr Mackie would offer comment and received no answer.

The question was also asked as to whether additional funding would be supplied to the school to help keep Nixon in Prep with his brother Bentley.

"Principals work closely with the families of students with disability and, with advice from specialised support staff as relevant, ensure the delivery of a high quality education program," the spokesperson said.

"In some instances, special schools providing highly specialised and individualised programs, best meet the needs of students with intellectual disability and/or multiple disability who meet specific eligibility criteria.

"Parents continue to have the choice of whether their child enrols in their local state school or a special school if all eligibility criteria is met."

No comment was made as to whether additional resources would be supplied to ensure Nixon could continue his education at the regional state school with adequate support.

Ms Christodoulou said she thought their answer was simply "not good enough".

"It's a bit of a cop out really," she said after reading their response.

"I have had no meetings with (the principal) about Nixon's support whatsoever.

"I've already had backlash with people saying Nixon will take resources away from the other children but that's not the case. We don't want him to take another child's resources, we want additional funding to support his learning."

The mum said another state school just 10 minutes away said they could apply for additional funding to enrol Nixon this Thursday.

"Why hasn't there been any additional funding requested by Peak Crossing?" she said.

"I attended the P and C meeting last night which was pretty emotional. All the P and C members want Nixon to stay at the school. He has learned from his peers and they have also learned from him.

"At the moment Nixon is in limbo."

Nixon remains at Peak Crossing State School on a semi-enroled basis three days a week.

Ms Christodoulou said she was yet to hear from the school's principal or the Department of Education regarding her son's future.

Ruth Christodoulou with her five-year-old son Nixon.
Ruth Christodoulou with her five-year-old son Nixon. Inga Williams

MONDAY: THE life of five year-old Nixon Christodoulou has been a tough one from the moment he came into this world.

Nixon along with his twin brother Bentley was delivered premature at just six months. While Bentley was declared healthy Nixon was diagnosed as Down syndrome.

Like all twins the boys have shared a close bond and just a month ago they proudly marched off to Peak Crossing State School to be Prep classmates.

Everything was great, Nixon had settled into the school well, he had made lots of friends and he'd shown improvement in his life skills.

But the happy story has now ended after the school advised their mother, Ruth, that Nixon's individual needs meant he should find another school.

Ms Christodoulou said the principal has told her to look for a special school option.
 

TORN APART: Ruth fears her five-year-old twins Bentley and Nixon will suffer if they are forced to be separated.
TORN APART: Ruth fears her five-year-old twins Bentley and Nixon will suffer if they are forced to be separated.

"A school that had given the indication that they will do what it takes to support him now have advised they can no longer and special school is the only option. They have pressured, and even bullied, to push me to special school," she said.

"When Nixon was born our belief was he was to have all the opportunities he can to have a full life.

"Nixon has attended state school, been embraced by classmates, parents and staff. His speech has improved, he now plays happily with others and his motor skills improve each day.

"Within the first week I started getting pressure from the principal to look into special school."

 

Ruth Christodoulou with her five-year-old son Nixon.
Ruth Christodoulou with her five-year-old son Nixon. Inga Williams

The Purga mother expressed her disappointment to the school's principal Judd Mackie on Friday and told him she would take the matter further.

Ms Christodoulou said all parents received a text to say Mr Mackie was taking immediate leave and would not be back until Term 3.
 

Ruth Christodoulou received a text message on Saturday morning from Peak Crossing State School principal Judd Mackie.Photo Contributed
Ruth Christodoulou received a text message on Saturday morning from Peak Crossing State School principal Judd Mackie.Photo Contributed Contributed

"I think he's running from a lot of issues," she said.

She said while staff at the regional state school had cared for her son exceptionally well, she was disappointed to hear a lack of funding meant the school could no longer accommodate his needs.

"The staff have done the best they can and I applaud them for that," she said.

"But they don't have the resources and I want to know why the school management hasn't applied for funding to get those resources.

"I found another state school just minutes down the road who said they could apply for emergency funding to help accommodate Nixon. I last spoke to Judd on Friday and told him this and all he said was, 'Ok, all the best, see you later'.

"I would love Nixon to stay at Peak Crossing State School ideally with his twin brother Bentley and all the kids love him to death."

Ms Christodoulou said that as a parent she had the right to decide if state school was the best option for her child.

"I am passionate about inclusion. All studies show inclusion is the best option," she said.

"It is a massive fight for the ability for me to actually decide what is best for my child, not be manipulated and pressured.

"I choose the hard way, because it is what is best for Nixon.

"I think special school has its place and 100% advocate for special school but it's not what I think is best for my son."

Yesterday morning the Queensland Times contacted The Department of Education and Training, who responded late last night.



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