Derby parents praise city’s only special primary school for progress made by their youngsters

THE mother of a youngster who was excluded from school at the age of three – and a mum whose son has special complex needs and requires oxygen daily from a pressurised tank he has to carry around with him - have hailed staff at a Derby school for going ‘above and beyond’.

The pair only joined St Giles, the city’s only special primary school – based in Hampshire Road, just over six months ago.

Cody (front row, left) has blossomed since joining St Giles School in Derby. Penguin PR: public relations, media and communications

But both have made marked progress with Dayle Taylor, mum to nine-year-old Cody Johnson, saying her son sees one of his class Teaching Assistants; Diane Overton, as ‘another mum.’

“Cody has autism and ADHD. He was excluded from school at the age of three – before we received the diagnosis,” said Dayle.

“I was studying health and social care at college at the time and would regularly receive phone calls from his nursery school, telling me to come and collect him because he was in trouble.

“In the end, I had to withdraw from my course to take care of Cody full-time. It was last year – in April - when Cody had a transition at St Giles School and he joined them in September on a permanent basis.

“He is now a happy boy who enjoys coming to school and has progressed so much. I can’t praise St Giles enough; his class teacher and teaching assistants are amazing. Cody looks up to them.

“He used to be a really fussy eater but is now more adventurous when trying new foods. Cody has attended Forest School – where youngsters learn outdoors – and has been swimming with St Giles. He’s so happy being at the school.”

Theo is pictured here in 2012. Penguin PR: public relations, media and communications.

Little Theo Needham spent the first few months of his life in intensive care at the Queens Medical Centre in Nottingham – and didn’t walk until he was five-years-old.

“Theo has an oxygen tank which he has to take with him to school,” said mum Kelly Blurton.

“We knew there were problems shortly after his birth. When he was six weeks old, he was taken into hospital and ended up in intensive care.

“At three-months-old, he was referred to the QMC for further tests - including a CT scan to try and find out what was wrong. He was a very poorly boy and one doctor told me that there was little they could do for Theo; he was so poorly.

“But he’s a fighter and it’s thanks to the doctors’ help at the QMC that I still have my baby.

“He was eventually diagnosed with neuroendocrine cell hypoplasia of infancy – a relatively rare disorder which affects his lungs - and that’s why he’s dependant on his oxygen tank. Theo also has chromosome 21 duplication, which led to developmental delay, and is on the autism spectrum.

“He needs constant care and I gave up my job to look after him, when it became apparent that he wasn’t going to get better.

Little Theo before his first day at St Giles School in Derby. Penguin PR: public relations, media and communications

“He didn’t hit his major milestones and Theo took his first steps at the age of five. We were lucky to get a place for Theo at Central Nursery in Nun Street, Derby and they helped me to get a place at St Giles.

“Theo is six now and has come on leaps and bounds since joining St Giles. He just loves coming to school – he has a smile on his face every time he comes through the school gates.

“His class teaching assistant Georgina Gadsby and the rest of his class team, greet Theo every day to make him feel comfortable and I was delighted to receive a Valentine’s Day card from him – he had put his hands in paint and the handprint was on the card; he’s never done that before. It was so special.”

Clive Lawrence, Executive Head Teacher at St Giles, said: “It’s fantastic to hear such positive feedback from our parents and carers. It’s pleasing to see that their children have settled in so well and made such excellent progress within a short space of time.

“Staff work very closely with parents and carers to support every child’s individual needs and our work with families has been well praised by the Family First Award, Ofsted and directly from the parent/carers themselves.”


For further information please contact Kerry Ganly at Penguin PR on 01332 416228/07734 723951 or email

Penguin PR is a Public Relations Agency serving Nottingham, Derby and the East Midlands. Run by award winning journalists we'll get headlines in newspapers, on Social media, online and radio and TV news