A VIDEO showing the importance of a Wirral special needs school has been produced as parents make a final heartfelt plea for the council to save what has become a second home to many of the borough’s most vulnerable children.
The future of the Lyndale School will be decided when Wirral’s ruling cabinet meets next week.
A consultation into the closure of the Eastham school was launched after Wirral Council announced it was “minded” to close Lyndale, citing a drop in pupil numbers and a change in Government funding.
Its findings will be discussed at the special cabinet meeting next Thursday, which is expected to be attended by dozens of worried parents.
One of those parents is Chrissie Woodland, whose son Alex has a unique undiagnosed genetic condition.
She told the Globe: “We are a family unit and we are desperate to keep the school open, particularly as a 12-19 unit which is something we as parents have actually been asking for at least the last eight years.
“The council says it wants to shut the school for three main reasons – falling numbers, because it’s a small school and because of the national change in funding.
“However, we know that the reason the council is doing it is because they have actually cut the funding in Lyndale by £7,000 per child on average.
“The national education budget has not actually changed – there is no more money or no less money being given to the council for education.”
More than 10,590 people signed a petition to keep Lyndale open, with 89% of Globe readers also believing it should be saved.
A video, filmed and produced by staff at South Wirral High School, has now been published in a bid to persuade the council that Lyndale is worth saving.
It shows the school’s physiotherapy and hydrotherapy rooms, light rooms, soft play area and £80,000 sensory garden – funded by generous Globe readers – and proves that Lyndale is a place of learning, comfort and safety.
Throughout the consultation process, Wirral’s director of children’s services Julia Hassall has stressed that children will not be moved from Lyndale unless their new schools meets the SEN requirement test by being either the same or better than the current facility.
But Lyndale parents do not believe the test will be met if Lyndale is closed.
Chrissie explained: “The Wirral Globe and the Wirral public raised £80,000 for a sensory garden which is an essential part of our childrens’ education and welfare.
“According to the SEN test, if the new facility is not the same or better than what the children already have then they won’t go but that means the council would have to uplift our sensory garden and move it somewhere else because the other schools don’t even have a garden, let alone a sensory one.”
Earlier this month, Ms Hassall said: “We have received approximately 90 responses to the consultation, and a petition has also been submitted to the chief executive.
“The important aspect is that all people affected, or potentially affected, by any decision have had the opportunity to comment on the proposals.”
Wallasey Conservative councillor Paul Hayes called on Wirral’s cabinet to bring a halt to what he describes as the “uncertainty being suffered by parents and pupils of Lyndale School” and confirm that the school will stay open.
But council leader Cllr Phil Davies said it would be “premature” to make a decision in advance of the September 4 meeting.
He added: “It’s absolutely essential that we keep an open mind.”
- You can donate to help the Lyndale cause by visiting justgiving.com/lyndale-school/
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.
August 6: Lyndale consultation a 'complete farce' say Tory councillors.