THE mother of a pupil at a Cumnock school has claimed staff inaction could have cost her daughter her life after an incident in which her child fell ill.

Elaine Graham says she has "serious safety concerns" after an incident which involved her daughter at Hillside School, located at the Barony Campus.

The school provides education for children with complex additional support needs aged from 5 to 18.

Elaine said her daughter had taken unwell at the school on Monday, September 4.

She explained to the Chronicle how she was first contacted by the school at 9.32am to make her aware that her daughter sounded "as if she needed to cough and was crackly".

Elaine said: "I explained that she needed to cough in the morning prior to school, and I assisted her to do so, and checked her oxygen levels afterwards which were 96.

"I explained to get her out of her wheelchair and assist her to cough, and let me know. At this point the fire alarm went and the teacher had to go."

Elaine says she did not hear from the school again until 12.54pm - more than three hours after its initial call.

She then claims that the school's head teacher called her and said her daughter's breathing had become "laboured and shallow".

Elaine says that at this stage she asked "well shouldn’t you call an ambulance oir a doctor?"

She claims staff then asked if she was in the area, as the staff would rather that she came to see her daughter before calling "as you know her better than we do".

Elaine then rushed to the school to see her daughter, who she collected as soon as possible.

"I collected her and drove her straight to our GP," she said. "They started her in steroids and oxygen and called for an ambulance immediately."

Elaine says her daughter's oxygen level at this point had dropped to a far lower 89 - a worrying level - and she was admitted to Crosshouse Hospital later the same day.

Elaine commented: "My daughter should be safe at school. If I hadn’t been available to answer the phone at 12.54pm, I am not confident that she would have been given the treatment she needed and left until she came home at 4pm.

"She could have been killed. I find it quite concerning that medical advice wasn’t sought.

"The school has all of the latest equipment and facilities but unfortunately no common sense, care or compassion."

Elaine told the Chronicle she has now raised an official complaint with to East Ayrshire council regarding the incident and how it was dealt with.

The council says an investigation is under way and, though it is at an early stage, it is supporting the school's handling of the situation.

A spokesperson said:"East Ayrshire Council can confirm that a formal complaint has been received regarding this matter and is being considered in accordance with Stage 1 of the Council’s complaints handling procedure.

"It would be inappropriate to comment fully before this process is completed, however the council can confirm that from early investigations it is clear that the school maintained appropriate contact with the parent throughout, having raised the alarm just 15 minutes into the school day.

"The conversations, as related by the parent, are also not recognised, as reported.

"The council wishes to confirm that the wellbeing of the young person was fully considered at all times by the school.

"The staff at Hillside School are caring, professional and very experienced. They ensured that action was taken to keep the young person comfortable and were, as always, prepared to call emergency services."