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Posted by: John Brace | 18th June 2014

Lyndale School Consultation Meeting: questions about Stanley, Elleray, Foxfield & the educational psychologist (Part 4)

Lyndale School Consultation Meeting: questions about Stanley, Elleray, Foxfield & the educational psychologist (Part 4)

                               

Continues from Lyndale School Consultation Meeting: questions about banding, outdoor space and Stanley School (Part 3).

The person asked a question referred to the one to one care that children were receiving at Lyndale School. Julia Hassall replied that that was part of the reason behind getting up to date assessments of each child was to ensure that if they had to transfer to a different school they would get exactly the same care that they get at Lyndale.

A parent said that since the last meeting they had visited Stanley School. She said, “The facilities there don’t get me wrong are absolutely fabulous, but I’d just like you to know I would be absolutely petrified to leave Scott there. I’m absolutely petrified.” and “my child would definitely not go to Elleray so the only other choice would be Stanley and it would be a massive, massive risks for Scott to go to that school.”

Phil Ward thanked her for her point.

The next question was about if anyone had spoken to the pediatricians of children at Lyndale. She said that there were children on hospital wards that might be suitable for Lyndale School but that nobody seemed to have asked the paediatricians or specialists if these children could go to Lyndale School.

Phil Ward answered, “Sorry I can’t speak for paediatricians, but surely the point..” was interrupted by the questioner asking again if anyone had asked the paediatricians to which he replied, “No, they have not, no is the answer to that.”

The next questioner referred to Julia Hassall’s statement earlier that there was a growing number of children with complex learning difficulties and referred to something that Andrew Roberts said at the call in. She asked what would happen when they can’t get into Stanley School? She said that the parents were categorically telling you that they don’t want to send their children to those schools.

Phil Ward asked if her first question was about how they’d respond to growing numbers? He said the question had come up a number of times and the answer was that Wirral Council has a responsibility on specialist provision. When there was evidence that the numbers were growing in any particular category then they would start discussions with schools to plan places.

The next questioner said that if they were providing up to two hundred and thirty places across Stanley and Elleray Park and those places were taken up by children transferring from Lyndale then wouldn’t there not be room for the expected increase in children with complex learning difficulties?

Phil Ward said that it was an ongoing process, as children were leaving for secondary school at the same time as children joining primary school the balance was shifting and changing all the time.

Someone asked what special arrangements that Wirral Council were making to gather the views of the children, almost all of whom had no conventional language whatsoever. He said that there were issues about friendships, relationships, their sense of place and security. As well as these there were issues about a safe environment to do with children with behavioural problems being mixed in with children who were very vulnerable with poor hand eye coordination and couldn’t protect themselves and anticipate danger. He said to find out what the children themselves would need special skills and special arrangements.

Julia Hassall responded, “This is why we’ve got our principal educational psychologist pulling together a group of meetings with the key staff involved with each child, the parents, any health professionals to really understand each individual child but also how the children interact with each other.”

The same person asked when that report would be available? Julia Hassall replied, “What will, they’re very specific to individual named children these meetings to get an update. So I think it would be breaching the confidentiality of the individual children but in terms of using that information to apply this SEN Improvement Test. That’s something we will absolutely make sure the needs of the children are put at the heart of that and this independent person Lynn Wright (I’m not sure of the exact spelling of this person’s name) will absolutely make sure that the needs of the children drive the future provision.”

Councillor Chris Carubia said that he was his understanding that if Lyndale was closed then the children would go to Elleray and Stanley, however nobody had mentioned Foxfield before?

Phil Ward answered, “In relation to, so, should a final decision be made about closure of the school”… “the children have got to go somewhere else. In terms of the legislation, we then would have a responsibility as a local authority then to engage in further conversations with each of the parents, not the parents as a group but each of the parents of each child that’s got a statement of special educational needs and that discussion will be had with each of the parents who may for their own reasons decide to express a preference potentially anywhere frankly. So there’s no presumption automatically that if the school were to close children would go to A, B or C. We’ve got to enter into that conversation.”

The next person referred to a visit to Stanley School and referred to it as a “brilliant building” but wasn’t sure whether it was “usable” and that it “felt like Manchester Airport”. A woman said that when she went to Stanley that it was a ninety place school but had a hundred children in it. She said that there were ten children at the school that were not funded and would this be sorted out if the Lyndale School children went to Stanley School? Andrew Roberts replied, “In terms of places at special schools, those decisions are taken annually. So the schools take it at a point in time, the decision taken in respect of Stanley was taken last November as a census. Clearly we need to be reviewing, as do the number of places at other special schools.” Phil Ward thanked him for his answer.

Continues at Lyndale School Consultation Meeting: questions about the sensory garden, resources, Elleray Park and Stanley (Part 5).

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