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Posted by: John Brace | 21st August 2014

Lyndale School Consultation Meeting: Julia Hassall “we’re not having straightforward consultation” (part 10)

Lyndale School Consultation Meeting: Julia Hassall “we’re not having straightforward consultation” (part 10)

                                                 

Phil Ward (Wirral Council's SEN Lead) at a later meeting of Wirral Schools Forum 2nd July 2014 (who chaired the consultation meeting at Acre Lane on the 16th June)
Phil Ward (Wirral Council’s SEN Lead) at a later meeting of Wirral Schools Forum 2nd July 2014 (who chaired the consultation meeting at Acre Lane on the 16th June)

Continues from Lyndale School Consultation Meeting: Cllr Dave Mitchell “They need the care they’ve got!” (part 9).

This transcript below starts at 1:05:50 in the video above.

DAVID ARMSTRONG (ASSISTANT CHIEF EXECUTIVE)
Just before we get to it, just before we get to it, I’ll just make the point about you’ll know there a number of people sitting here who will know we’re having discussions about Elleray Park and Stanley …(unclear)… and more recently we’ve been having discussions about Foxfield based on comments that have been made towards us.

Subsequently and clearly I’ve got to talk about the nature around the Wallasey School, but what was referred to was Wallasey School is currently based at an outpost base where inevitably …(unclear)… similar …(unclear)… some space …(unclear)… and I think that’s a very short-term arrangement, so it’s nothing at all to do with the Lyndale School.

TOM HARNEY (CHAIR OF GOVERNORS)
Well thanks for that point about a shared site.

JULIA HASSALL (DIRECTOR OF CHILDREN’S SERVICES)
Can I just come back to the point the gentleman made at the back you know? I’ll come back in a minute on what Alison McGovern said. You’ve said why haven’t we got parents at the front telling?

GENTLEMAN AT BACK
I said there’s, I don’t want to object, but whether it was legal.

JULIA HASSALL (DIRECTOR OF CHILDRENS’ SERVICES)
and I had a meeting with the Chief Executive of the Council, Graham Burgess. There were three parent governors, two of whom are here tonight and they said to Graham Burgess and myself, it feels like we’re not having straightforward consultation about some of these issues. We don’t know err what you’re doing to investigate the other eight options along with the other proposals that have come forward and what we have done and what Alison McGovern also said was I think, was is there something about, can you recreate Lyndale ethos in a different setting? Can you explore that and so we’ve had one meeting so far, we’ve got another meeting on Friday, to try and have a different kind of conversation about how we explore all the different options because I think the gentleman here raised the point when we were at the Floral Pavilion, it feels like when we have these meetings sometimes you can, questions from the floor, we know we kind of almost it feels like defend the position, whereas you can with smaller groups sometimes saying you can have a different kind of conversation but we’re doing that in tandem with these meetings to try and flush out all the different options and look at them in real detail.

GENTLEMAN FROM AUDIENCE
OK, well can I just say that the replication of Lyndale and that’s what I want to talk about. Lyndale even though we knew at the beginning of the year and it’s fully documented, it says many of the children have had PMLD [profound and multiple learning disabilities], it’s the actual, it’s the vast majority, it’s almost all the children.

JULIA HASSALL (DIRECTOR OF CHILDRENS’ SERVICES)
It is.

GENTLEMAN FROM AUDIENCE
So, the reason why Lyndale is so effective in that area is because it’s a small, lovely school and it does feel like, it does feel like a home and people say …(unclear)… 0.1%, it’s the very most vulnerable of our children. So they are all, this facility actually caters for them because they are vulnerable, they are vulnerable to other more boisterous children in care.

They need more responsible adult care, they are in the absolute …(unclear)… in this Borough and the reason why I’ve gone round approaching all those businesses, is because one hundred percent of the people think that that 0.1% of our most vulnerable children should be the …(unclear)… number one priority on everybody’s agenda and everything else should come second to this.

He received a round of applause for what he had said.

1:09:00

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Responses

  1. ” Every Child Matters ” From the UN, through Europe, at National Level and even Local Level.

    • Yes every child does matter, but unfortunately there is still prejudice and discrimination towards the disabled in this country, even children.

  2. Has the above not been discussed as part of the consultation, remember “Wednesbury Principles” Also remember Ministerial Guidance, Code of Practice, DOH, Dept Education, as well as ” Discrimination ” High Level Notes, went out with ” Contemporaneous Notes ” etc. You would or are likely to be considered as giving Direct Evidence, by producing your Film. Inference can also be drawn, by the fact that matters expressed that are unclear, basically gives credence to the Gentleman when he expresses the opinion that it is not a Straight Forward Consultation

    • As far as I remember Every Child Matters hasn’t been brought up as part of the consultation (which closed on the 25th June). The papers to do with the consultation can still be read on Wirral Council’s website. There were ninety written responses to the consultation which will be published in about a week by Wirral Council. I’ve already published three on my blog and a fourth consultation response from the Green Party has been published by themselves.

      It was just an audio recording of the meeting, not a film. However the “high level notes” are a different account of what happened at that consultation meeting when compared to the transcript.

      As to guidance from central government, the proposals (both at the consultation stage and at a later stage if closure is decided) have to meet the SEN Improvement Test (which basically means the children involved have to get the same or better what they’re getting now).

      They classed it as a public meeting, I was there as a journalist, although during it I did ask a human rights question about what was proposed (a part of the transcript I haven’t got to yet).

      The quote about it not being a straightforward consultation was said by Julia Hassall and according to her was made by one of three parent governors (of Lyndale School) in a meeting between those parent governors, the Chief Executive of Wirral Council Graham Burgess and the Director of Children’s Services Julia Hassall.

      As to “Wednesbury” principles, that is the reasonableness (or otherwise) of public body decision making. Back in February the original Cabinet decision was “called in” by politicians. I then pointed out that the law said that the committee deciding the call in had to have parent governor reps and Diocesan reps (with voting rights) on it.

      So that meeting was held, adjourned, it got referred to a later Council meeting which changed the composition of the committee, the committee (plus an extra 4, only one of whom turned up) decided by a majority vote to uphold the original Cabinet decisions on going to consultation on closure and changing the banding system as to how money to special schools is allocated.

      Since then, a petition of more than 10,000 signatures against closure has happened and it’s going to a special Cabinet meeting on September 4th as to what happens next.

      Hopefully that explains the history a bit better! However yes, Wirral Council has a history of poor corporate governance and it may well be that this matter doesn’t go smoothly and ends up as a judicial review claim as Wirral Council seem to make a habit of screwing up their decision making!

  3. I understand were you are coming from. What I was getting at in the second comment was that it was not Ms Hassall that first mentioned we are not having a Straight Forward Consultation. I have followed the Lyndale School Consultation and your blog on Fernbank Farm in particular. I also have given consideration to the Human Rights Act and European Legislation, Regulations, as well as UK Statute Legislation (Regulations, Hansard, etc).

    • I’m glad someone is looking into the legalities of matters, but there is more news to come about Fernbank and Lyndale.

      Unless someone is willing to enforce laws with Wirral Council by either embarrassing them in the press into doing things the right way or taking them to court and winning, things sadly will just bumble along there the way they’ve done things in the past.

      There isn’t even on their reports template a section so that the human rights implications can be thought through, although there is a more general legal implications section.

  4. […] 3) Lyndale School Consultation Meeting: Julia Hassall “we’re not having straightforward consultatio… […]


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