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Decision to launch Lyndale closure consultation under the spotlight tonight
PARENTS will soon find out whether or not Wirral’s ruling cabinet will be asked to reconsider its decision to consult on the closure of a special needs school.
The decision to launch a 12-week consultation on the closure of the Lyndale School will be examined by a panel of councillors this evening.
Opposition councillors opted to use their “call-in” procedure to delay the cabinet decision last month, describing closing Lyndale as an act of “educational vandalism”.
A drop in pupil numbers and a change in funding has been cited as the reason for Lyndale’s closure threat, but parents believe it should be saved no matter what, due to its importance in the lives of some of Wirral’s most vulnerable children.
The call-in meeting had been scheduled to take place on February 5 but bureaucratic bungling meant parents and church representatives had not been included on the committee to consider the controversial decision, meaning the council was in breach of its own constitution.
Council leader Phil Davies said such representatives would be appointed and ratified by the council on February 25.
Eastham councillor Tom Harney – who is also chairman of governors at Lyndale – told the Globe: “We are delighted to give the parents and the rest of the school community the opportunity to present the case for Lyndale School to continue.
“So far the discussion has been about money and buildings. We want to focus on the needs of children and their families.
“This is the chance to ensure the council works with parents to secure the future education and welfare of their children.”
Earlier this month, Cllr Davies said he was surprised that opposition members had decided to call-in the decision as “no decision has been made yet”.
He said: “This is exactly the course of action we have had to take with other schools where there has been falling rolls.
“No decision has been made yet about the future of Lyndale, and none will be made until the 12-week consultation period is over.
“I said at the cabinet meeting we have an open mind about the future of Lyndale and we are not doing this because of any issues with the quality of education.”
More than 50 people attended a public meeting chaired by Wirral South MP Alison McGovern on February 13, when it was resolved to form a PTA to enable fundraising to begin and a committee to scrutinise the eight options and proposals put forward by Wirral Council.
Following the meeting, Ms McGovern told the Globe: "There's a lot of support for Lyndale, we just need to mobilise that into a practical process."
The Globe will be updating its website following the call-in meeting.