Lyndale School Consultation

The Lyndale School is a special school for primary aged children with complex learning difficulties (CLD). The school is located in Eastham and serves the whole of Wirral. Many of the children currently attending the school have profound and multiple learning difficulties (PMLD). Ofsted’s most recent inspection of the school in November 2012, judged that The Lyndale School was a good school, with outstanding features.

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The option for closure of The Lyndale School is being considered because the viability of the school is compromised by its small size and falling roll, which both contribute to a difficult and potentially worsening financial position. There are currently 23 children attending the school. The national reforms to funding education for children with special educational needs (SEN) have brought The Lyndale School’s financial position into sharp focus and these changes could have a significant impact on The Lyndale School. Therefore, the decision to consult is not based on the quality of educational standards of the school, but because of the cost of maintaining a small school with a falling roll. 

This consultation is also based on the fact that there are two other schools in Wirral providing good and outstanding primary school provision for children with complex learning difficulties. Should The Lyndale School close, both of these schools will provide high quality care and education for the children currently educated at The Lyndale School. 

It is important to note that the consultation about the future of the school is not linked to the Council’s need to save money. Any savings made are redistributed to schools to invest in children and young people. 

The Local Authority has a statutory duty to ensure that there are sufficient school places in our area with fair access to educational opportunity to promote the fulfilment of every child’s potential (Education Act 1996). Across all Local Authorities in England over a period of years the range, number and needs of children and young people with special educational needs will change, so too will the cost of resources to support the provision required to meet children and young people’s needs. Therefore, it’s important that our local schools change to meet changing needs and numbers of children and young people. 

Consideration about how to meet the needs of children and young people with special educational needs forms part of the Wirral Children and Young People’s Plan 2013 – 20. This Plan sets out Wirral’s commitment to provide the very best outcomes for children and young people. The partnership working of the Children’s Trust, with its strong record of collaborative working with many partners, including children, young people and families provides a local framework for ensuring that a service which values each of our children will continue to be provided, and which makes the best use of available resources. At a national level, the new Children and Families Act 2014, makes provision to improve the quality of partnership working to meet the needs of children with special educational needs and / or disabilities, and their families. 

Consulting on the closure of a school will inevitably cause concerns, in particular for children, parents, carers and school staff. The Local Authority is committed to working very closely with the children, their families and the schools throughout the process. 

On 16th January 2014 Cabinet received a report from the Director of Children’s Services which proposed to hold a consultation on the closure of The Lyndale School. 

The report to Cabinet also contained a number of other options: 

  • Places being restricted at Elleray Park School and Stanley School so that more children were allocated to The Lyndale School
  • The Lyndale School becoming a “2 to 19” all-through school specifically for children with Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties (PMLD)
  • Federation of The Lyndale School with either another special school, or with a mainstream primary school
  • Co-location of The Lyndale School with another special school
  • The Lyndale School becoming an Academy or Free school
  • Closure of The Lyndale School combined with special needs bases opening in mainstream primary schools or additional places being provided in Elleray Park School and Stanley School
  • The Cabinet report noted that during the consultation period all options and any new options which might emerge during the consultation period would be considered.
  • Taking all the information into account, Cabinet agreed to begin consultation on the closure of The Lyndale School. The decision to begin consultation was “called in” to be re-examined by the Co-ordinating Committee on 27th February 2014. The Committee considered the history of decision making in respect of The Lyndale School, and at the conclusion of this meeting the decision to begin the consultation was upheld.