Petition against city special school closure

A petition against the closure of a Lincoln special school is gaining hundreds of signatures.

Queens Park School, on South Park Road, is set to merge with St Christopher’s and St Francis special schools in the city, if Lincolnshire County Council proposals are approved.

The authority is currently in consultation on its plans.

The school, which serves pupils with Severe Learning Difficulties (SLD) and Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties (PMLD), would be formally closed in August 2013.

It has an “Outstanding” rating from schools inspectors Ofsted, but according to the County Council, the school’s accommodation is “increasingly not fit for purpose”.

Its headteacher Alan Lacey recently told the Lincolnshire Echo he supports the decision to move pupils to the city’s other special schools.

Debbie Gutsell, whose son go to Queens Park School, set up a petition against the school’s closure.

On the petition, Gutsell wrote: “We are campaigning to stop this [closure] happening as this school is an Ofsted ‘outstanding’ school and a lifeline, family and community to our children.

“It is also the only PMLD in the county. Without this school, the children would lose their family and community, they would lose the magnificent ethos that comes with the school, and due to the children’s disabilities, it would be hugely detrimental.”

Linda Hawbrook, one of the petition’s signatories, commented: “These children have enough problems in their lives without the upheaval of being forced to move schools and adapt to a new environment.

“How can we treat our most vulnerable children in this way just to save money? They thrive in their current environment with the aid of the excellent staff. Don’t close the school.”

Councillor Ric Metcalfe, Labour Leader of City of Lincoln Council, said: “As a council, we are concerned about the potential impact a closure would have on the school and its students.

“Queens Park has been an excellent school over the years and has provided an important educational experience for our local children.”

Conservatives on the City Council also share these concerns about the possible closure.

The proposals will be scrutinised by the City Council’s newly founded Community Leadership Scrutiny Committee.

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