Red tape keeps sick student out of school

ALL Morgan Tuma wanted to do was attend college, but she feels bureaucratic process has forced her decision not to complete her schooling.

The 17-year-old, of Summerhill, was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2010, yet was well enough to enrol in grade 11 late in January 2012 at Newstead College.

However, only three months into the school year she pulled out to undergo radiation therapy and was not well enough to return.

Unbeknown to her and her parents Andrew and Karen Tuma, her illness and decision to pull out of school last year left her in a difficult position when she tried to re-enrol in grade 11 this year.

Last week she was told that according to the Tasmanian Qualifications Authority, she would have to progress to grade 12 and undertake grade 13 if she wanted to attain her Tasmanian Certificate of Education.

On top of that she was told there would be no additional teacher support at the college available to her.

And if she fell sick and was forced to pull out of school again, there would be little opportunity for her to gain her TCE.

``There's no point (going back to school) if I know there's no support there for me again,'' Morgan said.

She said support and teacher understanding of her situation was lacking last year.

College principal Janet Sims could not discuss the details of Morgan's situation but said each student with a disability was allocated a support group teacher and was one of no more than 25. 

The student also has a senior staff member assigned to look after their well-being.

Ms Sims said the college also offered a range of extra support programs for students, and said students unable to attend due to illness were offered flexible learning options.

Andrew and Karen Tuma with their daughter Morgan.

Andrew and Karen Tuma with their daughter Morgan.