Birmingham & Black Country

School place of girl once branded UK's smallest baby withdrawn

Perry Beeches III said it did not have the resources to look after Aaliyah properly
Image caption Perry Beeches III said it did not have the resources to look after Aaliyah properly

A girl who was dubbed the UK's smallest baby in 2003 has had her secondary school place withdrawn.

Aaliyah Hart, was given a place for this year at Perry Beeches III the Free School, by Birmingham City Council.

But her mother Lorraine said the school told her it "does not have the facilities" to deal with Aaliyah, 11, after it saw a special needs statement.

The council has apologised for a "miscommunication" and said it is working to find her a place.

'Meet Aaliyah'

Aaliyah, born weighing just 12 oz (340g), was believed to be the UK's smallest baby when she was born three months premature.

Despite her low birth weight, she defied medical predictions and survived.

Her needs statement said the youngster had been a year behind at specialist Rosslyn School, in Hall Green, and had also struggled to find her way around.

But Ms Hart said the statement assessment took place months ago and Aaliyah's situation had since improved.

She said the only problem her daughter had was retaining information, as a result of her premature birth.

"I would have liked the school to at least meet Aaliyah and make up their own mind - not just go off a piece of paper," she said.

Cash claim

Perry Beeches executive head teacher Liam Nolan said the school was legally obliged to follow the statement and said the resources and facilities required to meet her needs were not available at Perry Beeches III.

"I don't have £20,000 to assign a member of staff to look after Aaliyah," he said.

The school chief said Ms Hart did not apply for the statement until after the place at Perry Beeches had been granted.

A Birmingham City Council statement said it was "working with the family to find a suitable school place for Aaliyah as quickly as possible."

It added: "There appears to have been some miscommunication on the part of the council during the application process, for which we apologise."

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