2nd consultation response to Lyndale School closure consultation from Cllr Phil Gilchrist
Further to this earlier post about the recent consultation on closure of Lyndale School which includes the first consultation response I received, I’m publishing here a second consultation response received by myself from Cllr Phil Gilchrist (a councillor for Eastham ward where Lyndale School is based).
I’m still awaiting a response to my FOI request made a week ago, but as my FOI requests get routinely sent to Wirral Council’s press office for final approval before I get a full response I’m not surprised.
Here is the second response I am publishing to the closure consultation. If you have responded to this consultation and would like me to publish your response (please tell me if you wish your published response to be anonymised) please email me at email@example.com. I’ve linked to the Cabinet reports and Cabinet agenda item referred to by Cllr Phil Gilchrist in his consultation response for ease of reference.
From: Cllr Phil Gilchrist, 2 Gordon Avenue, Bromborough, CH62 6AL 334 1923
I object to the closure of The Lyndale School.
The Cabinet adopted funding arrangements which could be re-visited if there was a willingness to address the financial constraints imposed on the school. The report to Cabinet (Agenda Item 13 of 16th January 2014) included a number of comments that foresaw and helped create the financial straitjacket for the Lyndale School.
Section 2.5 made it clear that there was a need for any banded approach to..
‘recognise the resource intensive nature of making provision for those with the most profound and multiple difficulties ‘
The Cabinet report promised that the changes.
‘will be kept under review with regular reports to the Schools Forum’
Section 2.5 also raised the prospect that there would be.
..’a contingency fund which would be used to support specialist provision experiencing financial difficulties whilst future options are considered’
Section 2.7 described the Wirral banding model as seen by respondents to the consultation as…‘a reasonable starting point for development’
The aforementioned paragraphs suggested that there was a recognition that the authority was creating a system which needed reviewing and developing.
It was clearly reported that..
‘One respondent argued for a school specific top up significantly higher than the banding proposed because without it the school will not be financially viable next year.’ (2.7)
Instead of heeding the concerns raised the Cabinet adopted a funding arrangement which did not fully reflect the costs of providing the specialist provision valued by the parents of children at The Lyndale School..
During the consultation process covering the options for the future of The Lyndale School the parents made it clear that the school was meeting the needs of their children..
They did not wish to see the teamwork, the expertise of teaching staff and of the support staff at The Lyndale School fragmented and broken up. They made this point throughout.
There was an opportunity to ‘replicate’ the provision at The Lyndale, to plan and develop a modern unit that would have achieved this, but it was broached in a half hearted manner. The local authority seems determined to break up The Lyndale’s centre of expertise by sending the children to other schools.
The children will need the same high quality support in any new setting. The parents have remained unconvinced that this will be the case. They have put the needs of their children first and the authority should do likewise.
Cllr Phil Gilchrist 18th Nov 2014
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