A HEARTFELT plea has been made to Wirral’s chief executive in a last ditch attempt to save a special needs school from closure.
A twelve-week consultation into the future of the Lyndale School closes on Wednesday but parents today made one final plea to Graham Burgess when they handed over a petition containing 10,598 signatures.
In a letter to Mr Burgess accompanying the petition, parents beg the local authority to join in their efforts to “ensure that the children continue to have the best care” by keeping the Eastham school open.
“The Lyndale School provides a warm, caring and nurturing environment for some very special children, while making sure they receive the best in education and medical care – a place where each child is valued and given every opportunity to flourish and be happy,” write the parents.
“It is a school which reaches out to the local community. That community has taken Lyndale to its heart and the petition we hand over today shows how supportive the people of Wirral have been to our school.”
Wirral Council has blamed the decision to consult on the closure of Lyndale on changes in government funding and falling numbers.
While many believe it is a “done deal”, Julia Hassall – Wirral’s director of children’s services – says no decision will be made until the end of the “open and transparent” consultation.
If Lyndale did close, parents would be expected to send their children to either Ellery Park or Stanley School.
But ahead of their meeting with Mr Burgess, parents Chrissie Woodland and Maureen Fearon told the Globe they are terrified at the prospect of their children attending schools they deem unsuitable.
“I’m in dread of my son having to go to a different school where he is going to be stuck in one or two areas for the whole of his day,” said Maureen, whose seven-year-old son Robinson has cortical dysplasia.
Chrissie, whose son Alex has a unique undiagnosed genetic condition, added: “It’s frightening the life out of me.
“It’s not even the building, we’re just one big family at Lyndale and the staff know each child so well. We’ve been through so much and they’re splitting us up.
“Lyndale should be promoted as a specialist school. It’s sad that they can’t see just how amazing the place is.”
Fellow parent Dawn Hughes thanked those who have supported their plight, adding: “You have spoken up for our children and we hope that Wirral Council is listening.”
If it is agreed to close Lyndale, it will close at the end of the summer next year and children would be transferred to a new school in September 2015.
Cabinet will meet to discuss the consultation findings on September 4.
A FUNDRAISER will be held on June 26 in aid of Lyndale. Bands including Insanity Beach, Fire Fly will perform alongside Abbey Pagdin, Brian Hardman and Christopher Locke at The New Rake in Eastham. The event runs from 7pm until midnight and costs £3 to enter. All proceeds will go the Lyndale School.
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
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.
April 4: Lyndale parents brand closure consultation 'misleading'.
May 16: Lyndale parents' dismay at Wirral's stay-away councillors.
June 17: Parents beg Wirral Council to keep Lyndale open.