PARENTS at a special needs school facing closure have hit out at 58 Wirral councillors who failed to attend an open day aimed at showing them how vital the facility is to its children.

Governors at Eastham’s closure-threatened Lyndale school invited all 66 members of Wirral Council to attend the school and meet its pupils in a last ditch attempt to save what has become a lifeline for families of some of the borough’s most vulnerable children.

Two separate open days – on May 8 and May 15 – were organised, with emails sent to each councillor asking them to attend.

But only seven turned up, with many failing to respond at all.

Parent governor Zoe Anderson, whose daughter Lily attends Lyndale, said: “It’s a massively important issue for us and we are firmly of the belief that all of the councillors should want to come and see the school because it’s a massive issue.

“We invited all of the councillors and a lot of them didn’t even give us the courtesy of a reply – it’s just bad manners.”

Fellow parent governor Chrissie Woodland added: “They could at least make the effort to make it look like they care.”

The seven councillors that attended the open days were Liberal Democrat Cllr Tom Harney – who is also chair of governors at the school – Wirral’s cabinet member for education, Cllr Tony Smith, Lib Dem leader Phil Gilchrist, Moreton West and Saughall Massie Conservative Cllr Steve Williams, Conservative leader Jeff Green, Labour and council leader Phil Davies and Conservative Cllr Leah Fraser.

Moreton and Leasowe Cllr Ian Lewis, who had been due to attend Thursday’s open day but met with Lyndale staff earlier in the week, said: “I suggested inviting the councillors because I don’t think any councillor with an ounce of compassion would vote to close it if they have the privilege of seeing the children and the care and love they receive from staff.”

Councillor Leah Fraser, who was the only councillor to attend the open day on May 15, said she was appalled at the councillors’ actions.

She told the Globe: “There are some instances when the council should just pay up and this is one of them.

“These vulnerable children need our support. Councillors visit a school if they are not happy about a planning application but won’t visit to see what it is they’re consulting on closing down.”

Councillor Phil Gilchrist, leader of the Liberal Democrat group, said: "Any one can see that the children here have very great needs.

"Officials are regularly telling councillors that there is an ‘SEN test’.

"The council claim they will see ensure that any new provision as as good as or better than now.

"The children at Lyndale have the care, the staff, the space and atmosphere  to meet their needs now.

"None of the suggestions such as building bits on to other schools, match this."

A 12-week consultation on Lyndale’s future is currently underway and closes on June 25.

The consultation comes after Wirral Council announced it was “minded” to close the school, citing a drop in pupil numbers and changes to funding for special needs children as the reason.

Speaking to the Globe last month, Julia Hassall, Wirral’s director of children’s services said: “Making sure that the children at the Lyndale School continue to receive high quality education, care and long term stability, is the centre of our concern.

“The option for closure is being considered because the viability of the school is compromised by its small size and falling roll, which both contribute to a difficult and potentially worsening financial position.

“The consultation will be open and transparent.”


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


When do the consultation meetings take place?

Wirral Globe:


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.