Lyndale closure consultation announced

Wirral Globe: Lyndale parents believe the school should be saved. Lyndale parents believe the school should be saved.

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.

Comments (2)

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12:21pm Mon 17 Mar 14

Joeblogg85 says...

Mmm, the smoke and mirrors begin. The Consultation will only mean anything if the consulted are listened to. Unfortunately, my experience of such matters is the opposite. Over 6000 people have already told the council their views. This is as many as the Whole of the councils last borough wide Consultation, yet we are still no further forward. I really hope the correct decision is made here but have my reservations. Good luck to all the parent and children involved.
Mmm, the smoke and mirrors begin. The Consultation will only mean anything if the consulted are listened to. Unfortunately, my experience of such matters is the opposite. Over 6000 people have already told the council their views. This is as many as the Whole of the councils last borough wide Consultation, yet we are still no further forward. I really hope the correct decision is made here but have my reservations. Good luck to all the parent and children involved. Joeblogg85
  • Score: 10

2:14pm Tue 18 Mar 14

Mojo68 says...

Thanks for that Joeblogg. We have heard Julia Hassall and the councillors at the call-in mention the phrase thorough, open and transparent more times than I care to mention yet one simple question of "How did you reach the figure of £16'000 top up per child per year?" remains unanswered, all we got was some waffle about special needs education and averages etc, nothing actually specific to our children and their school!! We are presenting a seven page document to Julia Hassall with questions raised by us parents that we require answers to. Hopefully we have worded these questions in such a way that she will be unable to waffle and blag her way out of but I guess time will tell. We are continuing to raise the profile of the school, Northwest Tonight have been filming at the school today, Granada Reports are going on Thursday and the Daily Mirror are also going to cover the story. Maybe this will make the council realise that we are not going to sit back and do nothing but continue to fight to Save the Lyndale School!!
Thanks for that Joeblogg. We have heard Julia Hassall and the councillors at the call-in mention the phrase thorough, open and transparent more times than I care to mention yet one simple question of "How did you reach the figure of £16'000 top up per child per year?" remains unanswered, all we got was some waffle about special needs education and averages etc, nothing actually specific to our children and their school!! We are presenting a seven page document to Julia Hassall with questions raised by us parents that we require answers to. Hopefully we have worded these questions in such a way that she will be unable to waffle and blag her way out of but I guess time will tell. We are continuing to raise the profile of the school, Northwest Tonight have been filming at the school today, Granada Reports are going on Thursday and the Daily Mirror are also going to cover the story. Maybe this will make the council realise that we are not going to sit back and do nothing but continue to fight to Save the Lyndale School!! Mojo68
  • Score: 2

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