A mother has praised her daughter's school for going the extra mile to cater for her special needs. 

Harper Toye, nine, a student at Engaines Primary School and Nursery in St Osyth Road East, Little Clacton, was diagnosed with autism and ADHD, challenging her teachers and fellow students at times with her behaviour. 

But thanks to the tireless work and belief in Harper, the school has managed to put measures in place to keep her in a familiar environment. 

Her mother Abby felt like a massive weight had been lifted off her shoulders when she heard how hard the school was trying to support Harper. 

Clacton and Frinton Gazette:

She said: “She obviously has both conditions and at times her anxiety, and her behaviour, can challenge her to the point where she probably needs a specialist school.  

“But at the same time, her independent learning skills and her ability to five is that of someone that meets a mainstream school.

“There aren’t really a lot of schools out there that fall in the middle. 

“They've said they're doing all they can to keep her here. They didn’t know if they would be able to, but then they met and found a new strategy.  

Clacton and Frinton Gazette:

“I'm not sure other mums out there are getting that support from different schools. "

Thanks to daily communication with the school, teachers spotted signs of potential autism in Harper very early and shared their observations with her mother. 

“Harper doesn't like any sort of change," she said.

"She doesn't transition very well, so obviously staying with the group of friends that she has built from reception to year five is one of the only things that keeps her grounded, keeps her sort of regulated.” 

Clacton and Frinton Gazette:

Besides Harper being diagnosed with autism only in 2022 and with ADHD in 2023 due to Covid waiting times, the school took all the steps to support Harper's obvious needs. 

Clacton and Frinton Gazette:

The school funded one-to-ones to keep her and her fellow students safe before funding was provided after her diagnosis and even prepared a soft playroom at the school. 

“I’m beyond thankful for everything Engaines has done for Harper, and I want to share it because there might be someone going through the same thing and trying to choose a school for their child.”