A CONSULTATION on the closure of a Wirral special needs school will start next month.
Wirral Council has today announced the consultation over the future of the Lyndale School, in Eastham, will begin on Wednesday, April 2.
Julia Hassall, Wirral’s director of children’s services, said: “There is a commitment to make sure that the 12 week consultation is a thorough, open and transparent process.
“I will work directly with the parent governors to make sure that all parents know how the consultation will be carried out.
“I would like to stress that no decision has been taken yet, other than to consult with parents and the wider community to receive their views. All views we receive will be carefully considered.”
The council announced it was “minded” to shut down the Eastham school on December 12, citing a drop in pupil numbers and a change in funding as the reason.
Since then, parents have battled to change the minds of education chiefs, with more 6,400 people signing a petition to save the school.
Parent governor Zoe Anderson, whose daughter Lily attends Lyndale, said they planned to meet with Julia Hassall on Friday to find out exactly what the consultation will entail and to present a document detailing the concerns of parents.
She said: “We are going to give that to Julia on Friday and send a copy of that document to councillors as well because they always say they are answering our queries but we want to make sure everybody knows what the queries are.
“We have submitted a lot of these questions in the past and we have been told that we have got answers to them but the answers as far as we are concerned are missing the point.
“We have broken the questions down so we can make sure we get the information we need.”
The council’s co-ordinating committee met at Wirral Town Hall last month to look again at the decision to consult on the closure, which was made by the ruling cabinet in January.
The review was scheduled after opposition councillors – who described closing the school as an “act of educational vandalism” – used their call-in procedure to delay the decision.
Parents and teaching assistants expressed their fears and concerns at not only the decision to look at closing the school, but also the way the process had been carried out.
Ms Anderson, whose daughter Lily attends Lyndale, said she had “lost faith” in the process and did not feel confident that her child would be safe in any other school.
Despite such concerns, the council’s co-ordinating committee decided by nine votes to six to back the Labour cabinet’s decision.
Councillor Steve Foulkes, who chaired the committee, said he felt the consultation was the right starting point to ending the uncertainty at Lyndale.
What has happened since the closure threat was first announced in December?
December 12: Wirral Council announced it was “minded” to close the school.
December 16: A petition to save the school reaches 3,000 signatures (it now has 6,443).
December 20: Parents ask the council for more time before a report is submitted to cabinet.
January 16: Wirral’s ruling cabinet agrees to consult on the closure of Lyndale.
January 21: Tory lead describes closing Lyndale as an "act of educational vandalism".
January 29: Opposition councillors “call-in” the decision and ask for it to be reviewed.
February 4: Call-in meeting cancelled after bureaucratic bungling means council is in breach of its own constitution.
February 11: Education Secretary Michael Gove pledges his support for the school.
February 14: Wirral South MP Alison McGovern chairs a public meeting over Lyndale’s future.
February 27: Co-ordinating committee uphold cabinet’s decision in rearranged call-in meeting.