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Mother's anger over village school parking 'abuse'




Parents of disabled children are being sworn at in the street and abused online because of a lack of suitable parking near a village's schools, a mother says.

Emma Simmonds says education officials and community leaders in Terrington St Clement are not doing enough to address the issues around the sites in Churchgate Way.

She is calling for special permits to be given to the parents of students with special educational needs, but says her pleas for help have so far been unheeded.

She said: "By not addressing it at all, it makes it feel like they wish we'd go away."

West Norfolk Academies Trust (WNAT), which runs the high school, says it is talking to Highways England about improvement measures.

Mrs Simmonds is a parent of a Year 10 pupil at the St Clement's High School who has been issued with a blue disability badge because of his autism and anxiety.

Several other families of students also have them and Mrs Simmonds said there is only one disabled parking space on the school site.

The badges allow their holders to park on single or double yellow lines for up to three hours in most places.

But, despite that, Mrs Simmonds, who lives in Watlington, said incidents of foul language, rude gestures and social media abuse are increasing in an attitude she feels amounts to discrimination, because of the lack of concern about similar issues along the road.

She said she had asked both the high school and the nearby Community School, which is under the control of Norfolk County Council, to jointly address the issue, though no formal action has so far been taken.

She also claimed that the village's parish council had not responded to her correspondence.

Mrs Simmonds stressed that she was not criticising education provision for her son at the high school, which offers specialist support, and would not move him to another school now.

But she argues that the changes made to procedures as a result of the coronavirus pandemic showed what can be achieved if the will is there.

"They've made all these changes over Covid, but there is no focus for the minority."

West Norfolk Academies Trust said it was aware of the heavy traffic and parking difficulties during peak times.

A spokesperson added: "The school regularly reminds parents about the expectations and asks everyone to show patience and understanding of each other's needs.

"We are seeking further advice from Highways England on how the situation could be further improved."



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