Parents of profoundly disabled children plea for council change of heart

Wirral Globe: FLASHBACK: Lyndale parent governors Anne Archer, Debbie Devereux-Roberts and Nicola Griffiths at the town hall in June FLASHBACK: Lyndale parent governors Anne Archer, Debbie Devereux-Roberts and Nicola Griffiths at the town hall in June

PARENTS of some of the most severely disabled pupils in Wirral are calling on councillors to have a change of heart over their children's education.

They want to overturn a ruling that says their children must leave a unique special-needs school when they are 11 years of age.

And when the full Wirral Council of 66 members meets next week, they will be forced to discuss the parents' call after a petition signed by 1,847 people triggered a debate.

Parents and governors at Lyndale School in Eastham want the authority to introduce as a matter of urgency a "consistent and coherent" policy for children with profound and multiple learning difficulties.

They produced a petition with the principle aim of making the council reconsider a decision it made last summer to block the school from caring for profoundly disabled pupils from birth until they reach the age of 19.

The current rules mean youngsters must leave Lyndale and enter the secondary education system when they are 11.

Parents believe there is a desperate need for Lyndale to be allowed to continue looking after their children because provision for them in the secondary system is inadequate.

Their plea was rejected by the council cabinet in June of last year.

Councillor Sheila Clarke, Conservative cabinet member for children's services, said at the time: "The council carried out a consultation and feasibility study into their wish to create an all-age special school for children with profound and multiple learning difficulties.

"The studies found that, although there is support within Lyndale School for the new facility, there is little or no support from parents of PMLD (sic) children in other areas around the borough.

"For this reason, the proposal has been recommended for refusal."

Councillors have been forced to revisit the plea under the Government's "Petition Scheme" which rules that when a petition passes the threshold of 1,500 signatures, it will trigger a council debate.

The petition will be presented on Monday evening, February 14, when Wirral Council meets at 6.15pm.

YOUR GLOBE WILL BE AT THE MEETING TO HEAR WHAT OUR COUNCILLORS HAVE TO SAY.

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