A four-year-old boy has been turned away from three schools in North Yorkshire just because he had a tracheotomy, his family have claimed.
George Hall underwent the life saving operation three years ago and has undergone surgery 14 other times after being born with a rare heart defect.
But the child, who attended a mainstream nursery, has allegedly been refused places at three schools due to his health needs – despite having no learning difficulties.
His gran, Nicola Garbutt, from Skipton, who looks after him while mum Hollie is studying, said schools were discriminating against George, who has not been to lessons since the new term began last month.
The 46-year-old said: ‘George went to a mainstream nursery and has the right to go to a mainstream school. He is just a normal little boy.
‘But three schools have turned him down and said they can’t meet his needs.
‘It is disgusting and is just so frustrating. We are living in 2016, not 1916 – surely in this day and age we should be able to see beyond a disability?
‘George has had to fight so hard throughout his life and fight to survive – now he is fighting to have an education too.
‘He is bright as a button, a normal four-year-old who just wants to go to school with his friends.’
George was born with a congenital heart condition which also affects his six-year-old brother Harvey.
He had five open heart surgeries as a baby including a 15-hour operation on the day of his first birthday.
As well as a tracheotomy – an incision in the windpipe to remove a breathing obstruction – George also had a pacemaker fitted and has a gastronomy feeding tube and oxygen ventilation mask at night.
The four-year-old is on an education healthcare plan which includes funding for a one-on-one carer to come to school with him in case of issues with his tracheotomy
But after his family turned down a place at one unsuitable primary school in Skipton they approached three others in the town but claim all have said they are unable to meet his needs.
A North Yorkshire County Council spokesman: ‘Officers within the local authority are working closely with the family and schools to identify a suitable school for George.
‘It is important to all of us that his identified school is absolutely confident they can provide the necessary support for George.
‘These discussions are continuing at pace and we hope to resolve this situation imminently.’