Lyndale School Consultation Meeting: Julia Hassall “we’re not having straightforward consultation” (part 10)

Lyndale School Consultation Meeting: Julia Hassall “we’re not having straightforward consultation” (part 10)

Lyndale School Consultation Meeting: Julia Hassall “we’re not having straightforward consultation” (part 10)


Phil Ward (Wirral Council's SEN Lead) at a later meeting of Wirral Schools Forum 2nd July 2014 (who chaired the consultation meeting at Acre Lane on the 16th June)
Phil Ward (Wirral Council’s SEN Lead) at a later meeting of Wirral Schools Forum 2nd July 2014 (who chaired the consultation meeting at Acre Lane on the 16th June)

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Lyndale School Closure Consultation Meeting 16th June 2014 (Audio only)

Continues from Lyndale School Consultation Meeting: Cllr Dave Mitchell “They need the care they’ve got!” (part 9).

This transcript below starts at 1:05:50 in the video above.

Just before we get to it, just before we get to it, I’ll just make the point about you’ll know there a number of people sitting here who will know we’re having discussions about Elleray Park and Stanley …(unclear)… and more recently we’ve been having discussions about Foxfield based on comments that have been made towards us.

Subsequently and clearly I’ve got to talk about the nature around the Wallasey School, but what was referred to was Wallasey School is currently based at an outpost base where inevitably …(unclear)… similar …(unclear)… some space …(unclear)… and I think that’s a very short-term arrangement, so it’s nothing at all to do with the Lyndale School.

Well thanks for that point about a shared site.

Can I just come back to the point the gentleman made at the back you know? I’ll come back in a minute on what Alison McGovern said. You’ve said why haven’t we got parents at the front telling?

I said there’s, I don’t want to object, but whether it was legal.

and I had a meeting with the Chief Executive of the Council, Graham Burgess. There were three parent governors, two of whom are here tonight and they said to Graham Burgess and myself, it feels like we’re not having straightforward consultation about some of these issues. We don’t know err what you’re doing to investigate the other eight options along with the other proposals that have come forward and what we have done and what Alison McGovern also said was I think, was is there something about, can you recreate Lyndale ethos in a different setting? Can you explore that and so we’ve had one meeting so far, we’ve got another meeting on Friday, to try and have a different kind of conversation about how we explore all the different options because I think the gentleman here raised the point when we were at the Floral Pavilion, it feels like when we have these meetings sometimes you can, questions from the floor, we know we kind of almost it feels like defend the position, whereas you can with smaller groups sometimes saying you can have a different kind of conversation but we’re doing that in tandem with these meetings to try and flush out all the different options and look at them in real detail.

OK, well can I just say that the replication of Lyndale and that’s what I want to talk about. Lyndale even though we knew at the beginning of the year and it’s fully documented, it says many of the children have had PMLD [profound and multiple learning disabilities], it’s the actual, it’s the vast majority, it’s almost all the children.

It is.

So, the reason why Lyndale is so effective in that area is because it’s a small, lovely school and it does feel like, it does feel like a home and people say …(unclear)… 0.1%, it’s the very most vulnerable of our children. So they are all, this facility actually caters for them because they are vulnerable, they are vulnerable to other more boisterous children in care.

They need more responsible adult care, they are in the absolute …(unclear)… in this Borough and the reason why I’ve gone round approaching all those businesses, is because one hundred percent of the people think that that 0.1% of our most vulnerable children should be the …(unclear)… number one priority on everybody’s agenda and everything else should come second to this.

He received a round of applause for what he had said.


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Incredible: 1 of many responses to the Lyndale School consultation that Wirral Council refuse to release

Incredible: 1 of many responses to the Lyndale School consultation that Wirral Council refuse to release

Incredible: 1 of many responses to the Lyndale School consultation that Wirral Council refuse to release


Labour councillors at a public meeting of Wirral Council's Coordinating Committee voting to consult on closing Lyndale School (27th February 2014)
Labour councillors at a public meeting of Wirral Council’s Coordinating Committee voting to consult on closing Lyndale School (27th February 2014)

Rather predictably, Wirral Council turned down my Freedom of Information Act request for the responses to the consultation on the closure of Lyndale School yesterday, on the basis that they would be publishing them as part of the Cabinet papers for the special meeting on the 4th September. Rather worryingly they stated in their response “Wirral Council can confirm that the requested information will be made available and published during September 2014”, however a legal requirement requires them to publish such reports at least “five clear days” before the meeting meaning the latest the responses should be published is the 27th August.

Applying the “public interest test” to this Freedom of Information Act request, they go on to state “the Council believes that all the information/responses for the consultation require collating and then they are published as a complete article. The Council does not want to release partial information at this time and
then have to amend its response.”

They’ve also not answered my question about how many responses there were to the consultation. I previously published, on the 14th July the Parents’ Response to Wirral Council Consultation Document on the Closure of The Lyndale School which in print form (at least on my computer anyway) runs to fifty-three pages.

Although councillors were sent it before the debate on Lyndale School at the last full Council meeting on the 14th July, I remember during that meeting, the Mayor Cllr Foulkes stating that he’d only received it on the Saturday before the meeting (which was on Monday evening) so how could he be expected to have time to read it before the meeting (or words to that effect)? Similar reasons were also given by councillors last week on the Audit and Risk Management Committee over the amount of time to read a late 526 page supplementary agenda.

So, despite the fact that Wirral Council don’t seem to want the consultation responses to be published until around a week before the special Cabinet meeting (perhaps because all the responses will be hundreds of pages) here is a another consultation response from a married couple of a child at Stanley School. If Lyndale School closes, Stanley School is one of the two schools that Wirral Council have suggested that Lyndale children will be transferred to. I’ve blacked out the names and contact details of the parents who wrote this response.

Personal observations and thoughts from Parents with a child at Stanley School who has Severe Learning Disabilities, Autism and who is non-verbal.

Mrs XXXXXX attended the Consultation Meeting held at Stanley School on 3rd June and visited Lyndale School on 10th June, spending a morning meeting children and staff.

Firstly, the consultation document has no explanation of PMLD other than that it means Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties (or is it Disabilities!) There is also nothing about the children currently at Lyndale (apart from the number of pupils) and their complex health and medical needs which are especially relevant to this consultation. This document has not made it easy for people and parents of especially Stanley school where there are currently no children with PMLD to be consulted properly when there is no meaningful information about the children that go to Lyndale in it. It is far too general and the information too money focused with nothing about the very complex needs of the children. The term CLD is also only defined as Complex Learning Difficulties (also disabilities) and no explanation or example given again.

We are against the proposal to close Lyndale School for the following reasons:

  • Lyndale school caters so well for the children who go to that school. Why jeopardise that? The children have very specific educational, care, health and developmental needs which we do not feel can be met at any other Wirral school. All avenues should be thoroughly explored to keep Lyndale School open. It is a vital part of the community it serves and it enriches the lives of the children that go there. Their families feel safe in the knowledge that their children are safe, happy and well looked after by the staff and health professionals at the school. This also aids their educational learning.
  • Large schools are not necessarily better schools. The advantage of a smaller school especially for children with PMLD is that their needs can be met in more manageable and stimulating surroundings and class sizes can be much smaller and better personalised.
  • Stanley school as it is currently staffed and equipped is not suitable for the children who go to Lyndale. It will need substantial investment to improve its suitability if it hopes to give children from Lyndale the same quality of life they currently have.

We can only comment on Stanley and not Elleray Park.

  • The children who attend Stanley school as well as having Complex Learning Disabilities, in many cases also have additional needs stemming from autism, communication difficulties and behavioural issues. They do not have the same physical frailties as most of the Lyndale children and many will not understand the potential dangers of physical interactions.
  • The practicalities of putting together 90+ very physically active children with predominantly physically frail and vulnerable children is a real worry for us and other parents/carers from both schools. There is a very real possibility of harm being caused inadvertently.
  • Bringing the Lyndale children to Stanley school will bring massive disruption to all of the children from both schools. It also raises serious safeguarding issues when physically frail children are in close proximity to robust physically active children with unpredictable behaviour patterns.
  • Stanley school has one full time nurse. Additional specialised staff would be needed (at significant cost) to provide medical support for the Lyndale children’s medical and health needs. Also specialised training in lots of areas including tube feeding and use of oxygen would be essential.
  • Outdoor environment. There is a lack of suitable outdoor play space at Stanley even for the current children who attend. For a new build this is unacceptable and should not have been allowed to happen. There are no green spaces nor the sensory garden which was promised. The upper school playground is the
    area in which the school transport drops off and picks up and was painted by the council with road markings. This has caused a vast amount of confusion and problems for a lot of children who are directed to play there when parents/carers spend so much time and effort trying to teach road safety. It will be even more unsuitable and totally uninspiring for children whose current school has a vast
    amount of greenery, quiet areas, a wonderful sensory garden and practical outside spaces.
  • Indoor environment. The new Stanley school has been set up to be predominantly low arousal and this conflicts with the stimulating environment at Lyndale.
  • There is not currently the capacity at Stanley to cope with the relocation of Lyndale children and provide spaces for children coming through the new Education Health and Care Plan (statementing) process due to begin September 2014.
  • Parents/carers chose a school for their child based on circumstances at the time of statementing. If Lyndale is closed then the council will be shifting the goal posts for many of the pupils in other Special Schools as well. This may lead to parents/carers of children in the other schools exploring alternative provision for their own children’s education as the whole ethos and set up of that school will change.
  • The ideal time to bring Stanley and Lyndale together would have been when Stanley was rebuilt. The new Stanley school could have been designed to cater for all the children and would have brought the 2 schools together in one space under one roof in a totally planned and coordinated way having regards for the needs of both sets of children. This possibility of closing Lyndale and transferring the children to other schools just seems totally haphazard.
  • Yes Stanley can be changed, but at what cost to Lyndale and Stanley children’s current and future education and lives? For us as a family it is not a case of not wanting Lyndale children, rather it is more that it shouldn’t have come to this situation, forcing a decision by this consultation.
  • Closing Lyndale will severely reduce the flexibility and capacity of Special Educational Needs primary school places in the borough. This is a very piecemeal and frankly idiotic way of planning SEN provision in Wirral.
  • SEN provision in the borough needs to be considered as a whole and not on a school by school basis as seems to be happening at the moment. Closing one school will have a massive effect on the sector because of the relatively small size of that sector. Once a school is closed there is no going back for anyone! This is a very risky strategy.
  • Special schools are not the same as mainstream where they can fairly easily absorb pupils from other schools if one is closed. There are many more wider issues to consider around SEN and disability. Transition, well being, funding, resources and integration are more complex.
  • The Council should be looking at the whole picture. Look at what there is now and plan for the long term future. There is a real need to come up with a sensible plan and not do it school by school.
  • The Wirral Councillors making these important and ultimately life changing decisions for many children and their families have absolutely no understanding (unless they have a disabled child or relative themselves) of the demanding and challenging issues those children and families face day to day. That is why it was so important to visit Lyndale, see the children, the school, meet with the staff and gain a valuable insight into the educational lives of these children and what it means to their families.
  • Each day can be a massive struggle for parents/carers and their disabled children and it is the staff and health professionals at our special schools who provide much needed and essential support to these children and families. Our Special schools of Lyndale and Stanley are very different from mainstream schools in the way that they operate a very flexible open door policy and the staff are very much like an extended family you can call on for advice and support when you need it. They are more than educational establishments, they are family and treasured for what they bring to our children. The depth of feeling on this special relationship should not be under estimated. If Lyndale is closed that
    relationship will be ripped apart from those children and families. How can you replace that?
  • Our children are all individuals with their own specific needs and personalities and their parents/carers know their child best. They are the ones that should be listened to and taken notice of in all areas affecting their children, especially about their education, happiness, health, safety and security. Every child is different and you cannot generalise their needs. What may be ok for one child
    could be horrendous for another and people don’t always think about that. They are all children who deserve the best we can give them to enable them to flourish and have a happy life.
  • It was an absolute privilege to visit Lyndale School and it would benefit no one to
    close it. It would cause intolerable stress and anxiety to children, families and
    staff who are uncertain about their jobs. How can taking away a major part of
    their daily lives and support system be beneficial?


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The questions Wirral Council couldn’t, wouldn’t or didn’t answer about Lyndale: can you?

The questions Wirral Council couldn’t, wouldn’t or didn’t answer about Lyndale: can you?

Councillor Tony Smith (Cabinet Member for Childrens Services) talks at a meeting of Wirral Council's Cabinet about deciding to consult on closing Lyndale School (16th January 2014)
Councillor Tony Smith (Cabinet Member for Childrens Services) talks at the meeting of Wirral Council’s Cabinet which decided to consult on closing Lyndale School (16th January 2014)

The questions Wirral Council couldn’t, wouldn’t or didn’t answer about Lyndale: can you?


One of the (many) problems the parents have had with Wirral Council is they feel their legitimate questions relating to the Lyndale School closure consultation have remained unanswered (and in fact stated that at the last consultation meeting). This is despite public claims (made by very senior officers) at the call-in meeting back in February about openness, transparency and about how officers would do their best.

Below this are the questions. To be fair to Wirral Council, Wirral Council have (probably) sent what they regard (although obviously not what the parents regard) as answers. So how long has Wirral Council had to answer these? Well these questions have been around since March (which you have to take into account when reading them).

It does make you wonder at times whether some officers speak a completely different dialect of English to the rest of the Wirral population! Is it any wonder that the Cabinet decision and report on the next stage has now been put back to September (instead of what was planned which was July)? Wirral Council’s website has details on how you can respond to the consultation which closes on the 25th June. I’m not going to name the officer at Wirral Council given the task of answering these questions because that would have the effect of blaming one person for a decision-making process that over the last seven months has (and I’m being charitable here) fallen short of what the Wirral public deserve.

After all the politicians (who are supposed to hold the officers to account) and who’ve made the decisions so far have to accept some responsibility, as officers are only allowed to act within the agreed policy and budget framework (and yes I can imagine some readers laughing at this sentence).

Consultation RE: The Closure of The Lyndale School – March 2014

The following document is a list of the points that have been raised thus far by the parents of the children currently attending the Lyndale School.

The document contains a number of concerns and a list of questions that we would like to have answers to. A number of these questions have been asked in the past and we have received what have purported to be answers to them. We have considered the answers, and feel that they do not in any way address the points that have been raised. We have therefore prepared this document to clarify the questions that we would like answered as well as giving more detail for the avoidance of any doubt. As you are aware, we as parents, need to ensure that our children have the same standard of care and education as they have currently. We need to make sure that they have the same level of access to both inside and outside space, that they are safe at all times. We need to ensure that they enjoy the same freedoms and inclusion that they currently have. We do not believe that this is possible in any environment other than their current school. These questions have been put together due to those concerns.

  1. The Consultation Process

  • As you are aware, we have grave concerns regarding the consultation process as a whole. There are a number of questions in relation to the process as follows

  1. When will we be provided with a named council officer to assist us with procedural as well as other queries. We were promised council staff time and resources at the first Cabinet meeting and are still waiting for that help.
  2. Funding-

For band 4 and 5 top up, please clarify the following:-

  1. How many teachers per child have been allocated?

  2. How many TA’s per child have been allocated?

  3. Does nursing care come with this budget?

  4. Does Physio care come within this budget?

  5. Does Equipment come within this budget?

  6. How will the schools fund the additional equipment and capital expenditure which will be required for preparation of the school for our children eg changes within the school layout, decoration, provision of suitable outside space including sensory areas?

  1. Cross Funding – The funding cuts brought in by place lead funding represent a loss of £7000 per child. How exactly do they propose the saving to be met per child?

  2. If the children move schools, they will still be underfunded. Please confirm that the deficit will be met by cross funding from other pupils? This has been suggested on a number of occasions.

  1. SEN Improvement Test –

  1. Please confirm the exact procedure and process and confirm that this will look at not only Education, but also Safety, our childrens general well Being including Physiotherapy, Nursing, Sensory experience, Feeding, Space, and Toileting.

  2. We have been told that the test must be passed but have yet to be told who makes that decision as to whether the test is passed? It is clearly a very specialist area and the local authority will need the input of suitably experienced personnel. We wish to know who that will be and their level of qualification and expertise.

  3. We have been told that a needs assessment will be carried out on our children, as above, who will this be done by?

  4. Will there will be agreement between the local authority and ourselves as to the suitability of the person engaged to carry out the report?

  5. Please confirm that we will be asked to give permission for that person to access not only our children but their medical records?

  6. We also feel that it will be necessary for the parents and or carers of each child to be interviewed as the children are unable to communicate and the parents/ carers are best placed to advise on their own childs needs, please confirm that this will be done.

  7. We have been informed by Julia Hassall that each Medic involved with each child will be consulted, please confirm by whom and how this will take place.

  1. If when the SEN Report is done, it states that the SEN improvement test has not been met, what are the contingency plans? Does this mean Lyndale will stay open? Clearly any further period of uncertainty will be detrimental to the children and the parents/ carers as well as the staff and the school as a whole. We anticipate that the local authority will have contingency funds available to ensure that the school can remain open in the long term should the SEN improvement test not be met.

  2. Please confirm what will actually happen during the consultation? We are not knowledgeable nor experienced in local authority practice or procedure and need to have a clear picture of both including the timescale and dates of any proposed meetings and decisions.

  1. Please confirm we will be sent copies of any paperwork in relation to the consultation forwarding to us via paper copy or mail.

  2. We want assurance that all Councillors are looking at this from a Non Political and Non Personal view. We note from the Call In that all Councillors Labour voted – FOR and Conservative – AGAINST. We are firmly of the view that this is a political decision and want to be assured that it will be a decision based entirely on the needs of the children. I have to say that we were also quite alarmed that one of the Councillors at the call in mentioned that he personally knew the local authority witnesses and assured us that they were nice people ! We do not feel that that was at all appropriate to say and do not feel that that councillor was impartial and in fact he should not have been involved in that or any decision involving our school.

  3. Has there been an equality impact assessment done for:-

  1. SEN funding changes

  2. Lyndale Closure

  3. Schools Budget 2014/15

If there has, can we have a copy of the paperwork.

  1. The Options to be Considered

  1. How will the other options mentioned in the initial document provided by the Local Authority be assessed?

  2. Will the local authority look at the possibility of us becoming an academy as they would not then be involved in the running of the school?

  3. Will the 2-19 or in fact 2-23 be revisited. The last time this was looked at the reasoning behind the decision not to go ahead was flawed. The current trend in other boroughs is to make schools 2-19 and in fact in Cheshire its 2-23. Will the local authority look in detail at this proposal?

  4. At the call in it was mentioned a number of times that the consultation would look at options that had not yet been thought of, how will this be done? Will the local authority bring in expert help in looking at these options?

  1. The Closure of The Lyndale School and moving the children to Stanley and Elleray Park schools

If The Lyndale School should close:-

  1. How will the children be allocated to each school?

  2. Will allocation be on geography?

  3. Will allocation be on ability?

  4. Will allocation be on age?

  5. If the decision is based on choice, what if there is not an equal division? What if all parents want their children to go to the same school?

  6. What if parents decide that neither school is suitable? Will the LA fund out of borough schooling?

  7. Will each of the parents be able visit the respective schools once the new provisions are in place in order to assess them?

  8. At the time our children were allocated to The Lyndale School, neither Elleray nor Stanley School was considered suitable. What has changed?

  9. Are each of these schools going to cater for children aged 2-11 in just 2 groups or is the plan to integrate our children with the existing children in both Stanley and Elleray? It would clearly be very difficult to cater for such a large age range with, for example, only two small classes of children, it would mean that a child would potentially be in the same class and therefore the same class room for up to nine years.

  10. We have requested the incident reports from Meadowside, Elleray, Stanley and Foxfield Schools. These are necessary to look at any potential safety issues with our children both now and if they go through transition to secondary school. We have received inadequate information. Please confirm that these records will be obtained and provided to us. We do not want any details that would identify any of the children involved so there should be no data protection issues.


Stanley School currently has 97-100 pupils and we are told that there will be 110 there within a very short space of time. It also has a waiting list. The school capacity is listed as 90(Information taken from letter from Julia Hassall dated 7 March 2014 – answer to question 8, table 2).

  1. Where are the spaces for our children?

  2. We have been told the capacity will be increased to 110. How will this be achieved?

  3. What if Stanley is already at 110 pupils when the consultation is in progress?

  4. If spaces are created somehow for our children, what happens to the children on the waiting list for Stanley school?

  1. Everyone knows the number of ASD and behavioral children is increasing, how will you cope with this if Stanley school is full and / or over capacity, where will the additional capacity be for any future increase in either ASD/ behavioural or PMLD children.

  2. On our Governors visit to Stanley School they had one spare classroom, however, they were told that once this school is at capacity this would be full. Where exactly are our children’s classrooms going to be and how many classes will they have? For example, for 10 children, we would need at least 2 classrooms, there are no spare classrooms in this school. We were told categorically that there was no plans to expend Stanley school however at the call in meeting Julia Hassle mentioned something about an extension, please clairfy.

  3. During our meeting with the Headmaster of Stanley and Julia Hassall, the Head informed us that he would have to stop their intake of children now, to accommodate our children in July 2015. Julia Hassall said at the call in that this is not the case, please clarify how this space is going be freed up at this school?

  4. Stanley school is low arousal. The Headmaster acknowledged that this environment would not be suitable for our children, as our children need constant stimulation. How is Stanley school going to create a stimulating, vibrant, colorful environment in and out of the classroom without impacting on existing children?

  5. How do they propose to get our children into school in the morning safely? Stanley has one door and one arrival point at present. This will be busy and noisy and a lengthy process. How can our children be offloaded quickly, quietly and safely whilst not coming into contact with the children who could potentially stress or injure them.

  6. How do they propose to get our children safely through the school during the day, will the school ensure enough staff to have one pushing the wheelchair and one walking with the child to ensure that they are safe?

  7. Stanley does not have communal lunch or assemblies. Our children do, on a regular basis, which they enjoy and which is an essential part of their development as it allows them a sensory and stimulating experience whilst allowing them to mix with the other children. How will this be replicated in Stanley?

  8. Outside space at Stanley is currently one open space sectioned off by green mesh fencing, there is no quiet area, no sensory area, nowhere suitable for wheelchair bikes. It is going to be an extremely noisy, unsafe and stressful environment. Our children currently spend a lot of time outdoors, especially during the warmer months, outside, enjoying the environment. How is this going to be replicated?

  9. Stanley does not have or as far as we are aware have never had any severely physically disabled and highly vulnerable children like ours. Are they proposing that our staff move with our children or that they take on new staff ?

  10. We as parents believe that Stanley was built with our children in mind and that the local authority were always minded to close our school. If that was not the case why was Stanley built with specific classrooms containing expensive and extensive hoisting equipment in one of their class rooms and in other communal rooms. They did not and still do not have any children needing them? (if any children did need them, they could be catered for via a portable hoist ).

  11. If it is a case of the local authority complying with equality regulations then please confirm why the Lyndale school has not been provided with such equipment and in fact has outdated and insufficient hoisting for their children .

  12. Nurses – Please confirm how many full time nursing staff will be at each school for the children? Stanley currently have no full time nursing care. This is clearly insufficient, if our children were to join the school due to their high medical needs. They currently have two nurses.

  13. Please confirm that the children will have a warm and cosy nursing room with a suitable nursing bed if they need nursing care and are unwell during the day. The current room does not have a suitable bed and is cold and unwelcoming.


Elleray currently has 92 pupils, their capacity (as per the same document referred to above) is 75.

  1. Why aren’t suitable children currently attending Stanley and Elleray being referred to The Lyndale School? We are aware of suitable children who have been told that they must go to Elleray.

  2. Elleray is currently oversubscribed by 17 children. We have been told that the extension is for the current population of children. Can you confirm that this is the case? If this is the case, where will the space be for our children?

  3. During a meeting with the head teacher and Julia Hassle we were told that if our children go to Elleray that the planned Library would not go ahead and would in fact be changed to provide new classrooms for our children. Surely this would be detrimental to the existing children? Are the Elleray parents aware of this fact?

  4. Elleray currently has no suitable outdoor space, no quiet area, and no outdoor sensory area. The outside area is very cramped and will be taken up further by the proposed extension. Where could this required outside space be created without taking space from the current children? How would the school ensure that this would be a quiet and safe area?

  1. How do they propose to get our children into school in the morning safely? Elleray has one door and one arrival point at present. This would be busy, noisy and time consuming with all children arriving on buses at the same time. Currently, the childrens Escorts are not allowed into the School to do the handover of the children to the classroom? How can they ensure a speedy, safe handover? Our Escorts play an extremely important part of our child’s transport and they convey a lot of important information to the staff. How can they ensure this would continue? How would the school ensure a safe journey into and through the school at the beginning and end of the day and in fact throughout the day?

  2. Whilst our parent governors were there a child was seen running unrestrained up the corridor being chased by a member if staff, this would obviously be a potential danger to one of our children. How would the school ensure that our children were protected and safe at all times and still had access to the school as a whole?

  3. Elleray does not have an open door policy to parents, this is vital. Please confirm that this will be changed as this is vital for parent’s confidence.

  4. Hydrotherapy – The pool is very small, this will be unsuitable for our children. There is no hoist from the changing area straight into the pool. The current method of transfer would not be suitable for our children who all have temperature regulation issues. The transfer takes far too long. Also, confirm how many hydrotherapy sessions our children will get per week? They currently get 2 per week. We were told that the children have class swims, how can the school manage this when each of our children need two staff in the water with them and some of our children have to stay in class due to medical issues, how will the school cater for the number of staff needed?

  5. Nurses – Please confirm how many full time nursing staff will be at each school for the children? Stanley currently have no nursing care and Elleray currently have 1. This is clearly insufficient, if our children were to join the school due to their high medical needs. They currently have two nurses.

  6. Elleray Park currently have a communal lunch and assembly, this is a very noisy and potentially stressful and dangerous experience for our children. How will our children be integrated safely into this or will they have to be confined to their classroom?

  7. How will the school ensure that they have sufficient staff to look after our children?

  8. Will the staff be taken from The Lyndale School?

  9. How many teachers and TA’s will be allocated per each child?

  10. How will the school ensure that they have enough staff for eg toileting – when needed, dependent on the child’s needs, each child can require changing between 3 and 8 times a day, 2 staff are required for each change and the appropriate number of staff are required to remain in the classroom with the remaining children. The Head Teacher at Elleray seemed to be under the impression that the children had staff from continuing care to look after these needs, the majority do not.

  11. How will the school ensure that there are staff available and trained to feed each child and administer water and vent gastrostomy tubes?

  12. How will the school fund the additional equipment needed for our children ie hoisting?

  13. Will the school ensure that they have a nurses room where a child can go if they are needing nursing assistance and “time out” due to feeling unwell during the day? Lyndale currently have this provision and Elleray do not.

We appreciate that these questions are numerous and detailed but this information should be readily available as part of the consultation and therefore expect a detailed answer to the same.


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Lyndale School Consultation Meeting: questions about banding, outdoor space and Stanley School (Part 3)

Lyndale School Consultation Meeting: questions about banding, outdoor space and Stanley School (Part 3)

Lyndale School Consultation Meeting: questions about banding, outdoor space and Stanley School (Part 3)


Continues from Lyndale School Consultation Meeting: David Armstrong explains why there’s a consultation and questions begin (Part 2)

Julia Hassall said, “I think the point I was just going to raise is that we’ll make sure that the high level notes, I think it’s a very valuable suggestion looking at grouping them for each meeting to get a sense of the themes, are made public when we go to Cabinet with our report. So those will inform in part along with other things, the recommendations that are made to Cabinet.”

A member of the audience described the consultation document as “not worth the paper it’s written on” and “utterly deceiving”. Phil Ward replied with “point taken” and asked for any other questions?

A different member of the audience asked whether they would look at the banding system and see whether it was adequate? Phil Ward replied, “No, there is an intention for the work around the children, not n relation to costing but it was in relation to in the event of Cabinet agreeing to close the school and it finally does so, then we had captured the up to date information that we retain on the children so that we could begin, on an individual family basis, because we’re not talking about groups of children looking for one place or another, I have to speak up on an individual basis just to ensure that discussions with parents and discussions around the receiving schools and so forth we just had to give the fullest information. That was the purpose of that.”

David Armstrong said, “Just on the banding system, the banding system where we have five bands because of the special schools budget. Clearly, it’s new so it’s only been in place for a short while and I mentioned the Schools Forum before. We had an issue before to review that, clearly we’ve got to make it run for this financial year.” He referred to the Schools Forum and how questions about the banding feed into the Schools Forum.

Someone in the audience said that even if the school was full, that this didn’t matter as what mattered was whether they were adequately funded because without that they couldn’t stay open. Phil Ward replied to that and Councillor Dave Mitchell referred to a petition to Council five years ago about Lyndale School and a presentation. He referred to bullet points from the agreed notice of motion and other issues presented at that time. He asked if that would be presented to Cabinet?

David Armstrong replied, “The Cabinet report will have to include the history of all the previous reports that have gone over the last couple of…”

Councillor Dave Mitchell asked, “Will that include the decisions made by Council which were fully supported by all parties?” David Armstrong answered, “No, it would just include references to previous reports.” Councillor Dave Mitchell replied, “I think that’s a very important issue, it should be actually highlighted. It was a notice of motion to Council and it was fully supported by the local authority at that time.” Julia Hassall said, “We did make very clear reference to that to my recollection at the call in.” Phil Ward thanked Councillor Dave Mitchell for his point.

Someone from the audience said they wanted to raise a point about outdoor space at the three schools (Lyndale, Elleray Park and Stanley). She said she thought it was where it’s going to fall down on the SEN [Improvement] Test. Lyndale School was described as “it’s an absolutely fabulous site, it’s got established gardens, it’s got established trees, we take children out into the garden, we take lessons in the garden, we take children at a lunchtime”. She said, “the idea of squashing people in is not conducive to a good education”. Phil Ward replied, “Thank you for that point.”

The next question was about Stanley School. David Armstrong replied, “The school’s brand new and what we learnt when the Lyndale School was built was looking at primary schools. We built them absolutely tight on the existing campus. We found that the schools became more popular and also you’re building something for fifty or sixty years. We’re building something for fifty or sixty years, so we’re building to a generous standard and the new style that was built to a generous standard.

The school, the school that we’re building had a capacity of ninety pupils. The new building is capable of taking a hundred and ten and the reason for that is that we’ll be building to the maximum standards in place, we’re building some spare capacity because we’re investing several million pounds for the next couple of years.”

The next question was if there were any children with profound and multiple learning disabilities at Stanley School? David Armstrong answered, “The school was built to take the full range of pmld [profound and multiple learning disabilities]. The same questioner asked, “Are there any there at the moment?” followed by asking that if you put four or five from Lyndale into the school surely it would fail the SEN [Improvement] test as Lyndale provided one to one care in a school that catered for their complex needs? Phil Ward replied, but people started talking over each other again.

Julia Hassall said that she’d talked about the children with profound and multiple learning disabilities not growing in size, but that there had been an increase in children with complex learning difficulties, the questioner referred to the numbers over the last five years. Julia Hassall replied, “In terms of how we meet the SEN Improvement Test we are confident that the staff at the Stanley School…” and then was then interrupted.

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

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