Pe­ti­tion launch against school fa­cil­i­ties clos­ing

Loughborough Echo - - NEWS - By David God­sall david.god­sall@trin­i­tymir­

A PAR­ENT has launched pe­ti­tions to try and stop plans by Le­ices­ter­shire County Coun­cil to close the res­i­den­tial fa­cil­i­ties at Maplewell Hall Special School in Wood­house Eaves.

Con­sul­ta­tions are be­ing car­ried to the changes, which could come into ef­fect in Septem­ber 2018.

But the move has sparked protests by some par­ents - in­clud­ing mum-of-three Kayti Ryan, from Lough­bor­ough, who has an autis­tic daugh­ter at the school.

She said par­ents were de­ter­mined to get the pro­pos­als scrapped. She said: “They are not look­ing at the ben­e­fits, they are just look­ing at the money they can save.”

She said the res­i­den­tial fa­cil­i­ties pro­vided help with life­styles for pupils, teach­ing them such day-to-day skills as wash­ing up and mak­ing beds - but it also of­fered par­ents and fam­i­lies vi­tal sup­port.

She said hav­ing an autis­tic daugh­ter of­ten meant she could not give her other two chil­dren the time they needed, but when her daugh­ter was in res­i­den­tial care, it gave her more qual­ity time to spend with her other chil­dren.

She is launch­ing a pe­ti­tion on­line and a printed copy and has con­tacted Lough­bor­ough MP Nicky Mor­gan about the sit­u­a­tion.

The pe­ti­tion is on­line now at chang. org en­ti­tled ‘Save Maplewell Hall special needs school res­i­den­tial from clo­sure’ and al­ready has more than 1,800 sig­na­tures.

A Le­ices­ter­shire County Coun­cil report said: “The clo­sure of the res­i­den­tial fa­cil­i­ties will al­low sav­ings to be made to the bud­get and fund­ing to be di­rected to other ar­eas of in­creased de­mand where ap­pro­pri­ate.

“The clo­sure of the res­i­den­tial fa­cil­i­ties in Septem­ber 2018 will al­low for phased re­moval and ad­e­quate mea­sures of sup­port to be put in place (where ap­pro­pri­ate) for fam­i­lies/pupils af­fected by the change.”

Maplewell Hall Special School, built in 1857, cur­rently has ca­pac­ity for 195 pupils with SEND, in ad­di­tion to a 10-bed­room res­i­den­tial fa­cil­ity.

The school has main­tained sta­tus and is there­fore di­rectly fa­cil­ity con­trolled by the lo­cal author­ity.

The school caters pre­dom­i­nantly for pupils with mod­er­ate learn­ing dif­fi­cul­ties, hav­ing 183 pupils on roll, in­clud­ing 20 pupils within a des­ig­nated Autism Spec­trum Dis­or­der (ASD) fa­cil­ity.

The report states the school cur­rently re­ceives an al­lo­ca­tion of £293,000 a year (from the High Needs Block) to sup­port the res­i­den­tial pro­vi­sion - how­ever no pupils cur­rently at­tend­ing the school have any re­quire­ment for res­i­den­tial pro­vi­sion, and this has been the case for the past few years.

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