EXCLUSIVE: Lyndale parents' dismay at Wirral's stay-away councillors

Lyndale parents, pictured at this year's Wirral Coastal Walk, do not want the school to close.

Lyndale parents, pictured at this year's Wirral Coastal Walk, do not want the school to close.

First published in News
Last updated
Wirral Globe: Photograph of the Author Exclusive by , Senior Reporter

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.”

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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 specialreview@wirral.gov.uk

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When do the consultation meetings take place?

Wirral Globe:

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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.

Comments (18)

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4:43pm Fri 16 May 14

bigfoot says...

Remember the stay away ignorant fools, when you vote next Thursday!
Remember the stay away ignorant fools, when you vote next Thursday! bigfoot
  • Score: 12

5:32pm Fri 16 May 14

MX says...

And who is the Chair of the Consulation committee?.Oh that's tight - Cllr.Foulkes.Obvious
ly too busy preparing himself for his Mayorship.
And who is the Chair of the Consulation committee?.Oh that's tight - Cllr.Foulkes.Obvious ly too busy preparing himself for his Mayorship. MX
  • Score: 14

6:55pm Fri 16 May 14

Growl Tiger says...

I look forward to the first "Open & Transparent" decision ever made by WBC in the last 5 years. However, I don't think the senior officers or councillors know the meaning of those words.
I look forward to the first "Open & Transparent" decision ever made by WBC in the last 5 years. However, I don't think the senior officers or councillors know the meaning of those words. Growl Tiger
  • Score: 10

7:35pm Fri 16 May 14

uncatom says...

Should have mentioned TRFC all sixty six would have attended.
Should have mentioned TRFC all sixty six would have attended. uncatom
  • Score: 6

8:02pm Fri 16 May 14

PaulCa says...

Maybe the emails from Lyndale governors were screened / blocked / filtered out on these councillors' request?
Maybe the emails from Lyndale governors were screened / blocked / filtered out on these councillors' request? PaulCa
  • Score: 10

8:21pm Fri 16 May 14

Mojo68 says...

It sickens me that most of these councillors that are for the closure of Lyndale have either declined to visit the school or ignored our invitation completely. I will certainly be remembering who did bother to turn up come election day! The crux of the problem is funding and if they won't pay the correct amount per child then any other proposal we come up with to keep the school open still won't make the school financially viable in their eyes. I beg everyone that reads the Globe to email their feedback opposing the closure of our amazing and vital school.
It sickens me that most of these councillors that are for the closure of Lyndale have either declined to visit the school or ignored our invitation completely. I will certainly be remembering who did bother to turn up come election day! The crux of the problem is funding and if they won't pay the correct amount per child then any other proposal we come up with to keep the school open still won't make the school financially viable in their eyes. I beg everyone that reads the Globe to email their feedback opposing the closure of our amazing and vital school. Mojo68
  • Score: 8

8:30pm Fri 16 May 14

Mojo68 says...

The invitations, I believe, were sent via the schools email not from the parents governors email and we also told Tony Smith at one of the consultation meetings. We were informed by Mr Smith that their intention was to hire a bus and visit all SEN schools in the borough in one day, which I believe would probably afford us about half an hour of their precious time!!!
The invitations, I believe, were sent via the schools email not from the parents governors email and we also told Tony Smith at one of the consultation meetings. We were informed by Mr Smith that their intention was to hire a bus and visit all SEN schools in the borough in one day, which I believe would probably afford us about half an hour of their precious time!!! Mojo68
  • Score: 6

10:47pm Fri 16 May 14

Joeblogg85 says...

It's not gonna happen. The decision has already been made but the "consultation" has been put in place to buy some time until the elections have passed.
It's not gonna happen. The decision has already been made but the "consultation" has been put in place to buy some time until the elections have passed. Joeblogg85
  • Score: 7

10:17am Sat 17 May 14

Mojo68 says...

We are of the same opinion Joeblogg, everything they do and everything they say in answer to our questions makes us all think this but as parents of these highly vulnerable children we can not and will not roll over and play ball, this school means far too much to us to be able to do that. What we can't seem to get through to these people is that our children's safety would be compromised by placing them in a school with children who have behavioural problems. Our children would actually be far safer if they had a school within a mainstream school and that is what i'm going to put to them at the next consultation meeting.
We are of the same opinion Joeblogg, everything they do and everything they say in answer to our questions makes us all think this but as parents of these highly vulnerable children we can not and will not roll over and play ball, this school means far too much to us to be able to do that. What we can't seem to get through to these people is that our children's safety would be compromised by placing them in a school with children who have behavioural problems. Our children would actually be far safer if they had a school within a mainstream school and that is what i'm going to put to them at the next consultation meeting. Mojo68
  • Score: 5

8:54am Sun 18 May 14

Dave J1608 says...

To be fair you cannot expect all of them to attend as there were no allowances or expenses on offer and unlike the council Lyndale does not spend cash on sumptuous catering. Most councilors cannot see further than their own pockets. I am sure it will all get better with Foulkes as mayor..........
To be fair you cannot expect all of them to attend as there were no allowances or expenses on offer and unlike the council Lyndale does not spend cash on sumptuous catering. Most councilors cannot see further than their own pockets. I am sure it will all get better with Foulkes as mayor.......... Dave J1608
  • Score: 6

4:41pm Sun 18 May 14

PaulCa says...

Dave J1608 wrote:
To be fair you cannot expect all of them to attend as there were no allowances or expenses on offer and unlike the council Lyndale does not spend cash on sumptuous catering. Most councilors cannot see further than their own pockets. I am sure it will all get better with Foulkes as mayor..........
"I am sure it will all get better with Foulkes as Mayor".

Like it. Very Jose Mourinho.
[quote][p][bold]Dave J1608[/bold] wrote: To be fair you cannot expect all of them to attend as there were no allowances or expenses on offer and unlike the council Lyndale does not spend cash on sumptuous catering. Most councilors cannot see further than their own pockets. I am sure it will all get better with Foulkes as mayor..........[/p][/quote]"I am sure it will all get better with Foulkes as Mayor". Like it. Very Jose Mourinho. PaulCa
  • Score: 5

12:07pm Mon 19 May 14

kevin casey says...

We have sixy six leech's bleeding the public purse dry they are not interested in any thing.
that means anything to do with the community. Only heaps of self interest. In. wages expenses !!! Nothing will ever change unless people make it change. Vote them out !!!!!!!!
We have sixy six leech's bleeding the public purse dry they are not interested in any thing. that means anything to do with the community. Only heaps of self interest. In. wages expenses !!! Nothing will ever change unless people make it change. Vote them out !!!!!!!! kevin casey
  • Score: 9

5:48pm Mon 19 May 14

Growl Tiger says...

I actually find it enlightening when those of us who speak honestly and with experience of WBC are voted down in our comments. I hope it means that someone out there from WBC is actually reading our views.
I actually find it enlightening when those of us who speak honestly and with experience of WBC are voted down in our comments. I hope it means that someone out there from WBC is actually reading our views. Growl Tiger
  • Score: 8

9:07pm Mon 19 May 14

Mojo68 says...

Looks like they've taken part in the poll too, they are the 5% that think it is the right decision to close Lyndale and the 3% that aren't sure. Well I hope that the other 92% that voted that it was the wrong decision will also use their vote in the upcoming elections to get rid of these self-serving and heartless morons!!
Looks like they've taken part in the poll too, they are the 5% that think it is the right decision to close Lyndale and the 3% that aren't sure. Well I hope that the other 92% that voted that it was the wrong decision will also use their vote in the upcoming elections to get rid of these self-serving and heartless morons!! Mojo68
  • Score: 10

10:39am Wed 21 May 14

Llamedos 1 says...

Mojo, I couldnt agree more with your sentiments but alas apathy on the electorate part is rife amongst the majority of the electorate. When it come to local governance party politics should be outlawed as it is the childish arguing between the lot of tham that is destroying Wirral and its residents.
I personally will be voting for a totally independent candidate if there is one in my ward otherwise I will be marking my ballot paper "NO SUITABLE CANDIDATES" I know some people will argue that is playing into the hands of Davies but I believe that they are all they same, so whats the difference.
PARTY POLITICS DO NOT BELONG IN LOCAL GOVERNMENT".......we should all be campaigning for this
However, good luck and keep fighting the useless wasters (sorry to group all local councillors with the same contempt, there are one or two who do their best but they know who they are).....see www.whatdotheyknow.c
om and Wirral Councils FOI question section....very interesting
Mojo, I couldnt agree more with your sentiments but alas apathy on the electorate part is rife amongst the majority of the electorate. When it come to local governance party politics should be outlawed as it is the childish arguing between the lot of tham that is destroying Wirral and its residents. I personally will be voting for a totally independent candidate if there is one in my ward otherwise I will be marking my ballot paper "NO SUITABLE CANDIDATES" I know some people will argue that is playing into the hands of Davies but I believe that they are all they same, so whats the difference. PARTY POLITICS DO NOT BELONG IN LOCAL GOVERNMENT".......we should all be campaigning for this However, good luck and keep fighting the useless wasters (sorry to group all local councillors with the same contempt, there are one or two who do their best but they know who they are).....see www.whatdotheyknow.c om and Wirral Councils FOI question section....very interesting Llamedos 1
  • Score: 3

12:39pm Wed 21 May 14

Mojo68 says...

Thank you for you comment Llamedos and as always your comments are spot on. The fight for Lyndale has definitely become political and that is not appropriate nor wanted by the parents. From the very beginning council has cited a fall in roll numbers as being the reason they are minded to close the school and have always denied, when put to them, that children have been steered away from Lyndale but we now have the proof that this indeed was the case and one of the families in question are more than happy to come forward. Will be very interesting to see how they try and justify it when it goes public!!
Thank you for you comment Llamedos and as always your comments are spot on. The fight for Lyndale has definitely become political and that is not appropriate nor wanted by the parents. From the very beginning council has cited a fall in roll numbers as being the reason they are minded to close the school and have always denied, when put to them, that children have been steered away from Lyndale but we now have the proof that this indeed was the case and one of the families in question are more than happy to come forward. Will be very interesting to see how they try and justify it when it goes public!! Mojo68
  • Score: 1

4:55pm Wed 21 May 14

WirralAl says...

Growl Tiger wrote:
I look forward to the first "Open & Transparent" decision ever made by WBC in the last 5 years. However, I don't think the senior officers or councillors know the meaning of those words.
They do know the meaning they just don't do it. To them that means they are going to hide from the truth, not care about the consequences pay to hire a consultant then blame them spend all the money on the consultant and then blame a lack of funds.

Slippery Steve Fulk us will perform in his normal arrogant manner and be as callous as ever.

I DO HOPE ON THURSDAY THAT LABOUR DOES NOT REPRESENT THE PEOPLE THEY LOOK AFTER THEMSELVES AND THIS TERRIBLY ANTIQUATED POLITICAL SYSTEM FAILS TO PROVIDE ANY VOICE TO THE MASSES ONLY WHAT THE POLITICAL OLD SCHOOL WANT.
[quote][p][bold]Growl Tiger[/bold] wrote: I look forward to the first "Open & Transparent" decision ever made by WBC in the last 5 years. However, I don't think the senior officers or councillors know the meaning of those words.[/p][/quote]They do know the meaning they just don't do it. To them that means they are going to hide from the truth, not care about the consequences pay to hire a consultant then blame them spend all the money on the consultant and then blame a lack of funds. Slippery Steve Fulk us will perform in his normal arrogant manner and be as callous as ever. I DO HOPE ON THURSDAY THAT LABOUR DOES NOT REPRESENT THE PEOPLE THEY LOOK AFTER THEMSELVES AND THIS TERRIBLY ANTIQUATED POLITICAL SYSTEM FAILS TO PROVIDE ANY VOICE TO THE MASSES ONLY WHAT THE POLITICAL OLD SCHOOL WANT. WirralAl
  • Score: 4

2:19pm Fri 23 May 14

Johnxx says...

I am not surprised that councillors failed to show their support for the school. My councillor does not support me and did not seek my vote. They are complacent and rely upon people not to vote.

You get the politician for whom the majority did not vote.
I am not surprised that councillors failed to show their support for the school. My councillor does not support me and did not seek my vote. They are complacent and rely upon people not to vote. You get the politician for whom the majority did not vote. Johnxx
  • Score: 1

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