Ilford school denies national tabloid claim concerning disabled pupil

AN Ilford school denies threatening to fine the parents of a girl who was shot in the lung after they kept her home from school due to coronavirus.

Thusha Kamaleswaran, 15, was shot and paralysed in 2011, when she was just five years old, during a gang-related attack in a shop in Brixton.

She now attends Seven Kings School in Ilford and, on Sunday, October 18, it was widely reported that her parents had been threatened with a fine for keeping her home from school.

According to the Mirror, her family were “warned they could be fined and taken to court” and felt they had no choice but to send her back into school.

However, a statement issued by Seven Kings School, insists that “at no point has there been any prospect of fines being issued and none are pending”.

It adds: “When a pupil is absent, we are obliged to comply with school attendance regulations and we have done this while seeking to support and advise the family further.”

“Throughout the pandemic, the school has sought advice from and followed the Local Authority and the Department for Education’s guidance.

“In following that guidance, we have asked the family to provide us with the medical evidence required to advise us that it would be medically unsafe for a child to return during the pandemic.

“Although the family did provide a response from their General Practitioner, that response did not provide the necessary information.”

A letter from Thusha’s GP outlines the damage done to her body during the shooting and notes her “lung function is not optimal and is prone to respiratory infections”.

The letter continues: “In light of this, I recommend that every effort should be made to allow Thusha to study and do her school work remotely.”

A council spokesperson confirmed today that, as far as the council is aware, Thusha remains at school, having returned to in-person classes the week before last.

The statement from the school adds: “During her time out of school and since her return, Thusha has received both pastoral and academic support, with regular contact being maintained.

“A safe and well visit was carried out on Wednesday, October 7, and regular contact has been made with the family throughout.”

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Victoria Munro

Local Democracy Reporter