Councillor Phil Davies “the closure of the [Lyndale] School is the most viable option”
There was a quote by the late Terry Pratchett who put it thus “Ankh-Morpork had dallied with many forms of government and had ended up with that form of democracy known as One Man, One Vote. The Patrician was the Man; he had the Vote.”
In Wirral Council the man with the vote is the Leader of the Council Councillor Phil Davies. Here’s what he had to say about Lyndale School.
Thank you Mr Mayor.
I’d like to provide my comments into a response now on Lyndale School and then the Jeff Green budget.
First of all on Lyndale School Mr Mayor, last year we had a thorough consultation about the future of Lyndale School. This consultation was supported by many discussions with parents, indeed I myself and the Cabinet Member met with parents, discussions with Members and others with an interest in the future of the School and the children.
Cabinet received reports on the 4th September and the 17th December last year which gave the outcome of the consultation and the representation period regarding the proposed closure of the Lyndale School.
Cabinet on the 17th December took the difficult decision to close the School with the agreed closure date of the 31st August 2016. At this meeting of Cabinet on the 17th December Members took into account the full range of issues and themes which emerged during the representation period.
Can I remind Members that the report to Cabinet on the 4th of September contained a detailed account of the outcome of the consultation held on the Wirral and the SEN Improvement Test?
Cabinet decided the closure because the viability of the School was compromised by its small size and falling roll. There are currently twenty-one children on the roll of the School. Members will be aware that there has been uncertainty about the future of the School for a number of years now and that uncertainty has been resolved by the Cabinet decision to close the School. Following the Schools Forum on the 14th January 2015, the schools have already been consulted on the schools budget for 15/16, this was agreed by Cabinet on the 10th February.
Taking all these factors into account, I do not believe that it is a viable option to anticipate that the Schools Forum will vote in favour of funding or retaining the Lyndale School. This is chaos. There are currently twenty-one pupils as I said before and this has been reducing in recent years.
There are two other primary schools for children with complex learning difficulties including children with profound and multiple learning difficulties which can provide good enough or better opportunities for current pupils at Lyndale School or future primary aged children with PMLD. The suitability of both these schools has been extensively considered and reported previously.
The Council has given careful consideration to its statutory duty to ensure that there is sufficient school places with further access to educational opportunities. It’s carefully considered the correct statutory process and guidance has been followed which includes careful consideration of the Special Educational Needs Improvement Test and equality impact assessment.
The size of the school and its falling roll and the availability of other suitable primary schools on the Wirral, it has taken account of all the views, representations and has considered details and implications including financial issues and concluded that the closure of the School is the most viable option.
Mr Mayor taking all these factors into account I cannot see that there is any basis for seeking a revocation notice to consult on those proposals to stop all current planned action being taken to close the Lyndale School. Similarly there is no basis I believe, obviously we’d negotiate with the Schools Forum to consider allocating money at the detriment of other schools who are already experiencing enormous financial pressures due to the allocation of a flat cash budget and increasing pressures on all schools to deliver a balanced budget.
Mr Mayor I do want to acknowledge that this has been a difficult and uncertain time for families with children at Lyndale School and their staff but every effort will be made to ensure that there are good plans for each and every child to secure alternative school provision with strong plans for transition in place well before the School closes in July 2016.
So Mr Mayor that’s my response to the Lyndale School.
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