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Parents hope councillors will listen to their pleas over Lyndale School closure
PARENTS are hoping councillors tonight will listen to their pleas over proposals to axe a special needs school.
Wirral Council dropped a bombshell in December when it announced it was to begin closure procedures at Lyndale School after a predicted “budget shortfall” of £72,000.
The deficit has been caused by a reduction in the number of pupils and is linked to changes in the way funding is allocated by Government.
The "shortfall" has the potential to increase to £232,000 based on the number of children currently on the school roll.
Julia Hassall, Wirral’s director of children’s services, today submitted a report to cabinet asking for permission to consult on closure.
Parents are now pinning their hopes of saving the school on a five-minute address they will be permitted to make to cabinet councillors when they meet this evening.
Parent governor Zoe Anderson said: “We're sending a representative to speak on our behalf.
“We have five minutes, so we're currently trying to put down all of our points in as brief a way as possible.
“Obviously it is very upsetting and distressing we have only five minutes – we could speak for hours but we just have to accept that there is a process.
“We have just got to go with the flow at the moment unfortunately. It is the one chance we may get to keep the school open.”
Ms Anderson claimed Ms Hassall failed to listen to families’ concerns after they met with her last month.
She added: “The report today is the same document that was brought to the meeting at the school.
“It is no different and this is disappointing - because all the concerns we raised with her have not gone in it.”
Parents had also requested the report be delayed for a month to give them a reasonable time to consider their options.
Ms Hassall said the needs of the children at Lyndale will be “paramount” to any decision.
She said: “Before I met with parents we were planning to consult for six to eight weeks, but the decision we have made now is to consult for 12 weeks.
“By going to cabinet on January 16 to see if we can consult on closure, we can continue to work with the parents to take things forward, because uncertainty is not good.”
The report says pupils can be accommodated in other special schools.
But parents fundamentally disagree as Lyndale offers a unique haven for disabled children, some of whom suffer multiple, profound and often life-shortening conditions.
Several of Lyndale's pupils also attend Claire House Hospice.
The report sets out eight options for the future of the school, but Ms Hassall said further proposals could be considered following the consultation period, which she has described as being “open and transparent”.
If a decision is made to close, Ms Hassall said steps will be taken to "ensure minimal disruption" for all involved.
More than 5,300 people have signed an online petition against axing Lyndale.
In 2004, Globe readers donated more than £80,000 for the school during a fundraising campaign to provide pupils with a sensory garden.
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