After Lyndale School closure, Wirral Schools Forum told “Special schools in Wirral cannot collectively meet the needs or the demands of all Wirral children with SEND [Special Educational Needs and Disability]”
Tonight (at the time of publication) the Wirral Schools Forum meets in public. If you’re a glutton for punishment, it starts at 6.00 pm in the Council Chamber at Wallasey Town Hall.
Bear in mind the Council Chamber is in a part of Wallasey Town Hall that the public don’t usually have access to though! Having public meetings behind locked doors is one of things Wirral Council tends to do. Maybe you’ll be lucky and someone will jam the door open!
I will however draw your attention to two items on the agenda which may be of wider interest. There is a ten page report titled Review of High Needs SEN in Wirral and a report titled Schools and High Needs Funding Formula 2018-19 Update.
I will give you a brief summary, at the December meeting of the Wirral Schools Forum decisions were made by the Wirral Schools Forum. Now at the January meeting officers are recommending that the Wirral Schools Forum change its decision made at the December meeting.
Just to recap the reasons given for closing Lyndale School were given by Cllr Phil Davies here as to quote his words exactly “because the viability of the School was compromised by its small size and falling roll” and “The Council has given careful consideration to its statutory duty to ensure that there is sufficient school places with further access to educational opportunities.”
This may be stating the obvious, but the closure of Lyndale School had the following impacts:
i) it removed an entire primary school worth of capacity within the special primary sector,
ii) apart from those who transferred to secondary school, the transfer of Lyndale School pupils put more pressure on the existing special primary schools.
As it states rather starkly in one of those reports I’ve referred to above:
“Special schools in Wirral cannot collectively meet the needs or the demands of all Wirral children with SEND [Special Educational Needs and Disability] at the current time, as nearly all schools are at capacity.”
The report then goes on to state that there is no “appetite” for either building more schools or increasing places.
So where do these people go? Well despite no money for building more schools or increasing places they recommend “There is a need therefore to invest in the wider range of provision including mainstream provision.”
So from an educational perspective, the opposite of what Cllr Phil Davies has stated has happened. There are insufficient places, children have to be educated somewhere, so Wirral Council employees seem to be recommending putting them in mainstream schools instead. In fact the general view of some is this is already happening.
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