WIRRAL has voted overwhelmingly for Eastham’s special needs school to be saved.
More than 700 people took part in the Globe’s sample poll as part of our campaign to keep the Lyndale School open.
The ballot, featured in every Lyndale online story since the consultation was launched on April 2, attracted 730 votes, with 653 of them (89%) stating they do not think closing the school is the right decision.
Just 8% of voters said they felt closing Lyndale would be the right thing to do, while 15 people said they were not sure.
The consultation on the closure of the school that has touched the hearts of Globe readers ends today.
Wirral Council announced it was “minded” to close the Lyndale School in December, citing a drop in pupil numbers and a change in Government funding.
But parents at the Eastham school have campaigned fiercely to change the minds of the authority’s education chiefs, calling on Julia Hassall, Wirral’s director of children’s services to keep the school open.
They made a heartfelt plea to Wirral’s chief executive on Friday in a last ditch attempt to save Lyndale from closure and handed over a petition containing 10,598 signatures.
In a letter to Mr Burgess accompanying the petition, parents begged the local authority to join in their efforts to “ensure that the children continue to have the best care” by keeping the facility 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,” wrote 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.”
Many believe closing Lyndale is a “done deal” but Julia Hassall has stressed on several occasions that no decision will be made until the end of the “open and transparent” consultation.
But if it is agreed to close Lyndale, it will be at the end of the summer term next year, with parents forced to transfer their children to a new school in September 2015.
Two of the schools available are Elleray Park in Wallasey and Stanley School in Pensby but parents told the Globe they are terrified at the prospect of their children attending schools they deem unsuitable.
Maureen Fearon, whose seven-year-old Robinson has cortical dysplasia, said: “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.”
Chrissie Woodland, whose son Alex has a rare 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.”
The consultation closes at the end of today, Wednesday, with cabinet expected to meet to discuss the findings on September 4.
A report will also be produced by an independent consultant who has been hired at a cost of “up to” £10,000 to give her own view of the Lyndale situation.
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.
June 20: Petition signed by 10,598 people presented to Graham Burgess.