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Parents vow to continue fight to keep Lincoln special school open

By Lincolnshire Echo  |  Posted: December 02, 2011

  • Queen's Park Special School in Lincoln

  • Parents Beccy Starbuck, Amanda Hodge, Debbie Gutsell, chair of governors Tony Gray and teacher Jan Robinson deliver their petition to Downing Street in July

  • Parent Debbie Gutsell, chair of governors Tony Gray, teacher Jan Robinson, parent Amanda Hodge parent Beccy Starbuck with son Kian and councillor Darren Grice on the trip to Number 10

  • Queen's Park Special School in Lincoln

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A formal recommendation to close Queen's Park Special School has been made by council officers.

For months, staff, parents and governors at the school have fought with Lincolnshire County Council to keep the "outstanding" special school open.

But the Tory-lead authority's executive which was due to meet on Tuesday, December 6, was expected to recommend closing the school down by the end of August 2013.

In a report, written by executive director of children's services Peter Duxbury, it states: "The council considers that the proposals put forward are in the best interests of children and young people with more complex learning difficulties within Lincoln.

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"The local authority fully supports the proposals as being in the best interests of the children and young people and is prepared to commit funding to enlarge and improve two special schools to facilitate the proposals."

The report also states that keeping Queen's Park open would "limit opportunities available to the pupils" and "would not ensure the future sustainability of special school provision in Lincoln".

Plans to shut Queen's Park, which has around 80 pupils of varying disabilities and ages, were first announced in May.

Protests to keep it open led to a 7,000-strong petition which was presented to both 10 Downing Street and the county council.

Leaders of the county council's Labour group, Liberal Democrats and Independents have also backed the bid to keep the school open. And last week MP Karl McCartney told the Echo he would be urging his Tory counterparts to reconsider their decision.

If the decision to close the school is approved, its pupils will be sent to St Christopher's and St Francis special schools.

The site at St Christopher's will be extended and the age range of pupils expanded up to 19-year-olds.

And on November 28, the county council approved planning permission for a major development at St Christopher's school.

Debbie Gutsell, one of the parents and tireless campaigners trying to save the school, said that Queen's Park would not go down without a fight.

She said: "The general consensus is that decisions have already been made and we're pretty sure what the outcome will be but that does not mean we will stop fighting. We will fight to the bitter end.

"To all the councillors making a decision, please stop thinking about money and finances and think of our children and their needs and wellbeing.

"If the decision is made and doesn't go in our favour, there are still other options and we will take whatever we can.

"Sometimes councillors underestimate parents but we know what's best for our kids and we'll keep on fighting until we get it."

The council's children and young people scrutiny committee was due to meet on Friday ahead of the executive meeting.

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  • TB789  |  December 07 2011, 2:18PM

    Well, they've finally officially decided what they unofficially decided months ago. What a surprise!

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  • annoyed_anon  |  December 02 2011, 5:11PM

    Looks like the decision has already been made. Great moral boost to the amazing staff who have an Ofsted inspection on Monday and Tuesday. Hope the people who made the decision can live with themselves, but i suppose with their huge pensions, they wont give a stuff about these special children and their families.

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  • Bob_Major  |  December 02 2011, 12:46PM

    or a mosque

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  • TB789  |  December 02 2011, 11:14AM

    Perhaps when they shut the school it could be a site for a GP surgery.

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