Lyndale School Consultation Meeting: Kingsway, funding and hydrotherapy pools (part 6)

Lyndale School Consultation Meeting: Kingsway, funding and hydrotherapy pools (part 6)

Lyndale School Consultation Meeting: Kingsway, funding and hydrotherapy pools (part 6)


Next Monday evening (starting at 6.15pm), at a meeting of all councillors at Wallasey Town Hall, Brighton Street in the Council Chamber the issue of Lyndale School is on the agenda again. There is a notice of motion on it (which is the second notice of motion in that list of notices of motion) proposed by Councillor Paul Hayes and seconded by Councillor Jeff Green. As it’s short a copy of the notice of motion that councillors will be voting on is below:

Council, having regard to the support given to the campaign to keep the Lyndale School open by the public of Wirral, resolves that:

1. It is the firm belief of Council that the Lyndale School should remain open, and in order to bring to an end the anguish and uncertainty suffered by pupils and their parents and carers, calls upon Cabinet to confirm that the school will remain open when Cabinet next meets.

2. Council recognises the unique and caring environment provided by the Lyndale School to children with profound and multiple learning difficulties. Council acknowledges the value of this provision and affirms its belief that such provision should remain at the Lyndale School.

3. Council instructs officers to work with the Wirral School’s Forum in order to investigate how the funding of Wirral’s Special Schools can more closely reflect the will of Wirral’s residents, as expressed by the huge support given to the Lyndale School: that the quality and scale of provision for children requiring the services of special schools in Wirral should continually strive to improve and be in no way diminished.

Once the notice of motion is debated, all councillors present at the meeting (apart from the Mayor who traditionally abstains) will have to either vote for, against or abstain. Probably five or more councillors will call for a card vote which means each councillors name will be individually read out and they’ll have to say which way they are voting.

Mindful of the upcoming debate, I therefore thought I’d continue my write up of the last consultation meeting held at the Acre Lane Professional Excellence Centre just before the consultation ended. If you’re interested in the last bit I wrote about this meeting, it can be found on this blog at “Lyndale School Consultation Meeting: questions about the sensory garden, resources, Elleray Park and Stanley (Part 5)“.

David Armstrong said, “In terms of Kingsway, it’s difficult to talk about the school and then appeal. Kingsway was in the final round within six years of primary reviews, Kingsway was in the final round and the decision was that we would review Kingsway at a future date, the date was set for some date but we’ve actually left it longer than that.

We had a hundred primary schools, we went down to ninety, of that ninety there are four that still struggle financially under those arrangements. Struggle to set a balanced budget because of their numbers, it is problematic. It’s a mainstream school who gets its funding in different ways, it can set and does set a balanced budget.

The issue about Lyndale is its financial stability in the long-term because it is the local context of Lyndale is there, there’s also the national context identified and I’ve assured Members of that expression. In Kingsway, we haven’t gone back, but at some point there’s a Council resolution to go back and revisit Kingsway.

I’ll make it clear, it’s not about the quality of the education or about the quality of the school, I must clearly point out, this is not about any failings at Lyndale, it’s about the medium to long-term financial stability at Lyndale. It’s about can we promise when they’re putting their child in there aged four, can we promise that that school they’re attending will be there for ever and ever?”

Julia Hassall said, “Ian, I would just add, in terms of the Lyndale School, there’s been concerns about the future of the school going back to about 2008/9 and I think that that concentrates my mind throughout all of this process and genuinely thinking about the best needs of how we meet the needs of the children is I want to be able to put something forward and Cabinet will make their own view, put something forward that is about the long-term sustainability.”

Ian Lewis said, “Well I accept all you’ve said. Five years ago as Councillor Mitchell said, a resolution goes to full Council and every single one of those sixty-six councillors said keep this school open. That was five years ago and right now the concerns about viability if you’d listened then, when we told you to keep it open, the message is keep it open, not come back, not keep coming back and trying to close it because you think you’re right.”

Julia Hassall replied, “No, no, the significant difference Ian now to five years ago, is the government have changed the funding formula. So Lyndale is currently funded as if there were actually forty children in that school and over the last seven years, the numbers have gone down. It’s been about fifty odd percent occupancy in the school and following the exact funding formula, it will mean that at some point, the £10,000 per a child will have to be applied and that will mean £230,000 for twenty-three children as opposed to £400,000 because there aren’t the children in the places.”

Ian Lewis said, “Will that financial cost be disbursed with the children from Lyndale wherever they went?”

Julia Hassall replied, “No.”

Ian Lewis asked another question to which Julia Hassall replied, “The bit that comes into play is that if you are part of a bigger school you have the hydrotherapy pool for example will be there for the whole school population.”

Continues at Lyndale School Consultation Meeting: Funding, banding and need (part 7).

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Lyndale School Consultation Meeting: questions about the sensory garden, resources, Elleray Park and Stanley (Part 5)

Lyndale School Consultation Meeting: questions about the sensory garden, resources, Elleray Park and Stanley (Part 5)

Lyndale School Consultation Meeting: questions about the sensory garden, resources, Elleray Park and Stanley (Part 5)


Continues from Lyndale School Consultation Meeting: questions about Stanley, Elleray, Foxfield & the educational psychologist (Part 4).

The next question was about the £80,000 that had been raised by the public to pay for a sensory garden at Lyndale School. He asked what plans do they have for the sensory garden and how would you plan to get the money back to the people that donated it?

Phil Ward answered, “Well what it is, if a school, my colleagues can talk about the buildings on the site, but if a school does close clearly there would be in keeping, well we don’t know. We don’t know”.. “well resources that can be used, well resources that can be used certainly”… David Armstrong said, “It’s a what if question because there’s no decision made. There’s no real gardens, there’s no decision been taken to determine it.” The questioner replied with, “Well I’m sure if we knew at the time that there was the chance that all our hard work would be”… “we would not have done all that hard work.” to which David Armstrong replied, “All I will say is, all I will say is, that certainly in my time here we’ve always treated the school sites, what I’ve tried to do is do it with real sensitivity to what’s been the best care that I can.”

The questioner said it was a very, very unique school. David Armstrong replied with, “What we’ve done is anything that related to a particular pupil, anything that was in memory of a particular pupil we’ve dealt with that first and then we’ve gone on from that”…. The questioner asked who put the amphitheatre at the back of Lyndale School to which David Armstrong replied, “I don’t know.” The person asking the question said it was put there by lads working on a Youth Training Scheme for Wirral Action to which David Armstrong replied, “I can’t know every single detail.”

Phil Ward said, “Well clearly we’ve closed that one down, time moves on, there are different circumstances and we are where we are now.”

Ian Lewis said, “Four years ago, when I was a member of the Cabinet, the officers insisted on .. the officers brought a recommendation to close the Kingsway Primary School in Seacombe. It wasn’t a special school, it isn’t a special school and the argument for closing the school was that it isn’t financially viable.

I and the rest of the Cabinet voted against that proposal and four years later that school is still open and in its recent OFSTED inspection it was found to be outstanding. So on what basis do you think that, for the two directors, on the basis that this here is a school is for children who are vulnerable? If in four years time that’s still here, who’s to say it won’t be viable?”…

“Secondly, you mentioned the teaching in the other schools that you’re proposing Elleray Park and Stanley. That as I understand it won’t be one to one as we currently have at Lyndale, so issues such as basic issues such as toileting they would be left. If the children going to Lyndale, assuming this proposal went through, the children from Lyndale went to those other two schools and if their current level of education was to be maintained I would expect that they would have one to one levels of support as they have now, wouldn’t that therefore affect the viability of those schools that they were going to if they’re having to increase staffing to cope with the one to one and that’s a question to the two directors.”

Phil Ward said, “Well I’ll just reply to the one question if I may..”

Ian Lewis replied, “Sorry, I’m not familiar with who you are. Who are you?”

Phil Ward replied, “I’m the Strategic Lead for Special Educational Needs for Wirral. The question of one to one,…”

Ian Lewis said, “Can I ask the directors that question please?”

Phil Ward said, “If you’ll let me get to the last bit, the question of, I’ll bring them in in a sec, the question of one to one, I’ve spoken with the headteachers at the other schools and the basic premise that we’re working on and the staff that we’re working on that every school, every special school in this consultation can provide similar same levels of support to the youngsters if they had to move. It’s all about to the management of the curriculum and staff within the schools. Nothing is ruled out, nothing is impossible. We would not be significantly changing support for the children at the school.”

Ian Lewis replied, “Sorry if you can’t answer a question than I don’t think you should be involved. You haven’t answered the question about the children.” Phil ward interrupts. Ian Lewis continues despite the interruption, “What I’m saying is, let me finish please, what you’ve said is, you will move resources around into the two existing schools because of the increase in, for the children at Lyndale and therefore by definition, the education of the children in these two schools, will be diminished” and again Phil Ward interrupted him and they both started talking at the same time. Ian Lewis continued, “No sorry, will you please let me finish!? Let me continue please! It’s very, very rude for an officer, thank you! What I’m saying to you is, if you’ve got a set finite number of resources and don’t look at me like that I’d appreciate it. If you’ve got a finite number of resources and you share those amongst the number of pupils, then what you’re doing by putting more of those resources onto the children that need it as we have at Lyndale you must be taking those resources from somewhere.”

Phil Ward replied, “Right, I think I’ll bring in the Director on that.”

Continues at Lyndale School Consultation Meeting: Kingsway, funding and hydrotherapy pools (part 6).

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