A TEENAGER is determined to make the step back into school after being home-educated for five years... but he fears his plans could be scuppered.

Rio Rogers, 14, lives with Asperger’s Syndrome and hypermobility, and left school five years ago due to extensive bullying and a violent incident.

Rio is a competitive swimmer, having competed in the Essex Paralympics in March, and recently took his History GCSE exam.

However, his mum Jayde Soper, 54, claims Basildon Academies is preventing Rio to make the step back in by not enrolling him in certain classes.

Mrs Soper said: “I took Rio out of school when he was eight as he had been bullied so much. He was once shoved over and had a pound stolen from him.

“Since then I’ve been home educating him. He did his History GCSE exam recently, which cost me £226 to put him in as an external candidate. He’s a very smart boy, and I finally felt like it was right to ask him if he wanted to go back into mainstream education after five years.

“He’s a competitive swimmer, he loves his exploration and geography, he just gets very nervous being around big groups with the history of bullying.

“He has issues with dirty hands and people touching his personal belongings if they have dirty hands or warts, so cooking and some sort of art is definitely a ‘no’.

“It took a while to build up his confidence and to want to go back into school. We were shown around and I said if he couldn’t do the specific subjects he wouldn’t join. I was told that wouldn’t be an issue, then I get an email saying they can’t offer me them and he would have to do art and engineering.”

Ms Soper said she had already bought the school uniform since looking at the school but now Rio will not be able to go.

She added: “We feel so let down by the school, we were promised things on the day and then different subjects later on.

“I worked so hard to get Rio the confidence to want to go back to school, and now I’m back to square one.” It’s such a big deal for him, if they had said on the day it wouldn’t be possible it would be understandable, but they didn’t.

Gary Smith, head of Basildon Academies, said: “The Academy admits more mid-term applications than many other schools and we have an excellent record of dealing with them successfully.”

He added: “In these situations we are always anxious to assist and indeed have invited Mrs Soper in to discuss a bespoke curriculum in order to accommodate Rio’s subject requests.”