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Lawyers move to challenge Council’s SEND consultation

PARENTS have just 25 days to raise legal fees needed to launch a case to keep Larkrise and St Nicholas special School open.

Of the £10,000 to be raised for the Keep Special Schools Local campaign to pay for solicitors, £2,295 has already been given by 97 people. Solicitors have moved to challenge the consultation process carried out by Wiltshire Council during its proposed changes to SEND provision that could see a £20m Centre of Excellence built on Rowdeford School grounds in Rowde. Parents say keeping Larkrise in Trowbridge is crucial for creating a sense of community for its pupils.

Parent Teresa Lilley said: “Students are at the hearts of our communities, and a local special needs school promotes inclusion. An ‘outstanding education’ for these pupils is about learning life skills embraced within their ever-growing communities alongside their peers in mainstream schools.”

A peaceful march from Larkrise to County Hall in Trowbridge due to take place last Saturday (Feb 2) was postponed due to heavy snowfall and has now been rearranged for February 16.

Laura Mayes, cabinet member for children’s services, said: “These are ambitious proposals but we are ambitious for our children. We want them to attend a great school which provides the facilities and support for them to really thrive. I want to reassure parents that we want to take them with us every step of the way. I would encourage them to actively participate in the consultations so we can keep discussing these proposals and ensure every child and their family is involved.” Lawyers have described the case against the consultation as “important” as they bid to protect children.

Solicitor, Keith Lomax, said: “The challenge against Wiltshire Council is important as children with special needs have particular difficulties, which can isolate them and their families from their community.There are specific requirements for the council to engage with communities, and when a council runs roughshod over us – as we say Wiltshire Council has – then we need to stand up and shout.”


Article originally appeared on This is Wiltshire

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