Angry Sunderland mum slams school after autistic daughter left with sunburn

Sophia Sutherland came home from school sunburnt.
Sophia Sutherland came home from school sunburnt.

A Sunderland mum has taken her autistic daughter out of school after she came home sunburnt.

Heather Sutherland claims her ten-year-old daughter, Sophia, was told it ‘wasn’t hot enough’ to put suncream on, despite it being one of the hottest days of the year.

Heather Sutherland with her children Sophia and Jake.

Heather Sutherland with her children Sophia and Jake.

Sophia, a pupil at Highfield Community Primary School, was on a school trip to the Raich Carter Sports Centre when she got burned on Wednesday.

Heather, 29, from Pennywell, said she is very strict on putting lots of suncream on Sophia and her brother, Jake Dewar, five, because they have red hair and very pale skin.

She said: “The children went swimming first and then went outside to play games.

“We got a letter telling us to pack suncream and a sun hat, which I did, and neither were used.

She is not capable of doing what a normal child her age would do

Heather Sutherland

“I couldn’t believe it when I saw how burned Sophia was and said why hadn’t she put her cream on. She said she asked and was told ‘it wasn’t hot enough’ to bother.

“I am absolutely fuming, it was baking hot. I can’t believe the lack of common sense of not making sure the kids had their suncream on after swimming.”

Heather, who had to give up work to be a full time carer to Sophia, who also stuggles with sensory and attachment disorders, said because of her autism her daughter is more at the level of a six-year-old and wouldn’t have the sense to put the cream on herself.

She said: “She is not capable of doing what a normal child her age would do. I think this is a lack of care.”

Sophia Sutherland suffered sunburn during games day.

Sophia Sutherland suffered sunburn during games day.

Heather said she understands school budgets are tight so some children with special needs don’t always get the extra support they need, but she said in this case there is no excuse for not putting suncream on the children.

She said: “When I picked her up I thought her face was red, but I assumed it was because she had been running around at drama group.

“It wasn’t until she took her jacket off that I realised how burned she was on her face, arms and neck.”

Heather said she will not be sending Sophia back to the school and the youngster is due to start Academy 360 in September.

A spokeswoman for Highfield Community Primary School said: “We take the care of our children very seriously and we would hope that we could resolve any issues with the family.”