A TWELVE week consultation on the closure of a Wirral special needs school has started today, Wednesday.
Wirral Council today published the 24-page consultation document on the future of the Lyndale School in Eastham.
It invites feedback from residents, parents and concerned parties on what should happen to the school, which looks after some of Wirral’s most vulnerable children.
A number of consultation meetings will also take place before it closes on Wednesday, June 25, allowing people who may not have access to the internet to have their say and find out more.
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 6,580 people signing a petition to save the school.
Wirral council’s co-ordinating committee met at Wirral Town Hall in February 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.
The consultation will close on Wednesday, June 25.
You can view and take part in the consultation by clicking here.
Feedback can be sent by post to The Lyndale School Consultation, Children and Young People’s Department, Hamilton Building, Conway Street, Birkenhead, CH41 1FD, or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
When do the consultation meetings take place?
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.
April 2: Wirral Council launches 12-week consultation.