Lyndale School Consultation Meeting: Tom Harney “it’s amazing the things that go on” (part 8)
This continues from Lyndale School Consultation Meeting: Funding, banding and need (part 7).
Tom Harney, Chair of Governors at Lyndale School said, “Thank you very much. My name for those of you that don’t know me is Tom Harney. I’m Chair of governors at the Lyndale School in Eastham. Mention was made in the consultation about academy status and the governing body agreed that we would actually approach the DfE [Department for Education] and put our names on the list and I’ve just had this email, so I do apologise if I’m telling members of the governing body something in fact that they haven’t been told beforehand, but we have got a list from somebody called Holly Turner who works for the Department for Education and she has given us some names of contacts which we will be taking forward and it seems and I didn’t know this but she told me that one proposal in Wirral that’s been progressed is to put special school children in Wallasey School building. That’s interesting isn’t it?
So there we are, it’s amazing the things that go on. So, well there we are, it’s a national system of education and anyway we will be doing that and of course as has been mentioned here there is a problem and that is the amount of money per a child and the reason by the way that we have been talking to the Council about seven or eight years now, is that at no time have we had enough money per a child. The only reason the school is still open, is that we have actually been funded above the places because of course, both the number of children we’ve had a number of places which has been steadily decreasing and it’s a warning signal and the reason is of course it is expensive to give the sort of service that these children need under the formula we’ve got and there’s no way out of that. It is going to cost more money because effectively one to one is true.
You need more or less one to one, one adult per a child and that costs money and it’s a very, very simple exercise to say how much does it cost, because we know how much salaries cost and people attract salaries, so it’s easy and I am horrified really that it wasn’t in the report and finally the third thing is and I would like to reply to what Dave said and what Ian said, Ian Lewis and Dave Mitchell and that is there was a unanimous view, err decision by Council. What happened was in fact arising out of a petition organised by parents, the Council and with one of our parents, or then parents who addressed the Council. There was an agreement that there would be an investigation leading to a policy which would deal with PMLD in this Borough.
The first part of that investigation was done because they asked parents what they thought and then there was going to be a part two. That part two has never been finished and I feel that the reason we did that was to give a robust basis to actually talk out this what we’re talking about now because we knew it was going to happen and we’ve known for several years it was going to happen and we thought it’s logical if you start with the needs of the children, identify what the needs of the children are. Then you work out how much it costs per a child and then you fund it and as has been said one way or another, this has to be funded. Even if it means cross subsidising the school and I don’t think, I think if we’re going to cross subsidise I think all of the parents in the school should be told that because obviously if a child’s got and suffered health problems that our children have got in the school, they have to have the funding and therefore if there is a choice of staff they have to be taken from somewhere else because their lives are not threatened.
So it’s as easy as that, the issues are very simple and I think they’re being obscured by a lot of the discussions but the fact of the matter is, it costs money to educate the children who are in this condition and we, plus health of course and you never mentioned but health put a lot of money in to Lyndale and the other schools, we need jointly to ensure that the lives of these children are the best that they can be. Thank you.”
Tom Harney received a round of applause for what he had said.
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