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Closure-threatened Lyndale School: Parents ask council for more time
PARENTS have called on Wirral’s director of children’s services to delay submitting a report that asks for permission to consult on the closure of a special needs school.
Wirral Council dropped a bombshell a fortnight ago when it announced it was "minded" to begin closure procedures at the Lyndale School, in Eastham.
Globe readers took the school to their hearts during a major fundraising campaign, and donated mroe than £80,000 to provide a sensory garden and other outdoor facilities for the children.
Worried parents met with Julie Hassall, Wirral’s director of children’s services, on Thursday, when they asked her a number of questions they believe she was ‘unable to answer’.
Ms Hassall plans to submit a report to cabinet on January 2, asking them for permission to consult on the closure of the school.
This would mean cabinet would discuss the proposals at their next meeting, on January 16.
The move has been triggered by the school facing a "budget shortfall" of £70,000 next year due to a reduction in the number of pupils attending.
Parent governor Zoe Anderson, who attended Thursday’s meeting, told the Globe this would not give those opposed enough time to "get organised" before addressing cabinet themselves.
“There is only one working day between then and now,” said Zoe, whose eight-year-old daughter has attended Lyndale for six years.
“We have asked if Julie Hassall can delay submitting the report for a month to give us enough time to get organised.
“We had a lot of questions to ask during the meeting and she didn’t know the answers to all of them
“There is not enough time between now and then for her to get her information together to produce a valid report.
“She said she is going to listen to us and find out the answers to those questions she couldn’t answer – she appeared to listen but time will tell.”
More than 4,500 people have signed a petition to save the school from closure since the announcement was made. The petition - started by John Healing – had attracted the signatures of 4,739 people.
Zoe added: “We’ve got a closed Facebook group at the moment that acts as an information spreader but we’re in the process of setting up an open group too.
“We’ve now got a couple of consultants from Arrowe Park Hospital and Claire House who are willing to help us.
“It’s a busy time of year for everybody but everyone is making a real effort because they are just so passionate about the school.
“My problem with it is that they have come up with the reasons to shut the school based on financial grounds based on their calculations that they can’t give us any information about.
“The whole time my daughter has been at the school they have been trying to close it – it has been a hard fight.
“The problem we have got is that they don’t seem to have given any thought to where the children will go.”
Ms Hassall said: “The report going to cabinet is to seek permission to consult with the parents and families of Lyndale School to gather their views.
"It is important to stress that no decision about the future of the school has been made.
“In line with my commitment to keep people informed, I met with parents and families to clarify the situation and listen to their concerns.
"All of the comments received are being taken seriously and I will be back in touch with responses as soon as possible.
“I would again like to personally reassure parents and families that we will work with them at all stages of the process, giving full weight to the wellbeing, welfare and future education of their children to inform any future decision.”
To sign the petition to keep Lyndale School open, click here
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