A YEAR of anguish and uncertainty has ended in heartbreak after Wirral Council's ruling cabinet unanimously voted to close a much-loved special needs school.

Council leaders met tonight to finally decide on the future of the Lyndale School in Eastham.

Parents had been hoping for a miracle but after 12 months of pleading with councillors to leave the school open, their hopes were dashed.

It follows a year of anguish for parents, who have fought tirelessly to convince councillors that the Eastham school is vital to their children’s future.

Wirral Council first announced it was “minded” to close the school last December, citing a change in Government funding and falling numbers.

Cabinet unanimously voted to close Lyndale during a special meeting in September, with a meeting of the authority’s co-ordinating committee also voting to uphold the decision.

A statutory consultation period then followed, with the heartbreaking closure decision finalised tonight.

Lyndale will close on August 31, 2016, with pupils transferred to either Elleray Park or Stanley School.

Parents told the Globe they are not surprised with the decision and vowed to keep on fighting until the bitter end.

Wirral's director of children's services Julia Hassall told tonight's meeting that the needs of Lyndale's pupils would be "appropriately met" at the alternative schools, and reassured parents that their children would be as safe and protected as they are at present.

Ms Hassall also spoke of how there was a "possibility" of relocating or recreating Lyndale's £80,000 sensory garden, which was funded through generous donations from Globe readers.

But Chrissie Woodland, whose eight-year-old son Alex has an unique condition and attends Lyndale said: "It's an expected decision but the most frustrating thing is that even after this whole process they still don't get the basics. "There is no room at the other schools, there's no space for the sensory garden. They can't guarantee our children and their children's safety, welfare and education."

Chrissie added: "We won't stop fighting. We have just been granted legal aid for a judicial review and the papers are being written to go to barristers as we speak."

Dawn Hughes, whose 12-year-old daughter Ellie also attends Lyndale, described the last 12 months as a year “full of fear”, with parents often feeling “crushed and hopeless” at times.

She said: "At the end of the day, we look at our kids and we can see how vulnerable they are and how happy they are at Lyndale and how happy they are with their teachers."

Fellow parent Maureen Fearon added: "We are our kids' voices, we have to fight. I don't know how the councillors can sleep at night."

Opposition councillors have hit out at what they have called a "pre-ordained" decision.

Cllr Phil Gilchrist, leader of Wirral's Liberal Democrats, said: "It is as though it has been dragged out as long as it has been to wear the parents down.

"There are still unanswered questions and it's as if the council makes it up as it goes along."

John Bell, Wirral south Tory parliamentary candidate, said it was "a disgraceful decision which was pre-ordained" while Wallasey Tory Cllr Paul Hayes described it as a "devastating blow" to Lyndale pupils, parents and staff.

He said: "Labour led Wirral Council might think that a stay of execution of a few months will satisfy critics of this appalling decision but they can be certain that the campaign for Lyndale School will continue.

"The unique learning environment nurtured at this excellent school should be applauded by Wirral Council but instead, just days before Christmas, they have heaped more misery on the families and staff of Lyndale School as they have tonight confirmed their plans for closure."

Making his recommendation to close Lyndale, Cllr Tony Smith - cabinet member for children and family services - said it had been an extremely difficult decision to make and understood how difficult and uncertain the last 12 months have been for the families of Lyndale pupils.

He added: "I am as satisfied as I can be that maximum opportunity has been provided for the public and school community to make representations and raise concerns throughout the consultation.

"I want to acknowledge how this has been a difficult and uncertain time for the families of children at the Lyndale school and to recognise their time and commitment to advocating on behalf of their children."