Thousands sign petition in bid to keep special needs school open

The Bristol Post is reporting that more than 13,000 people have signed a petition asking ministers to try and keep a special needs school in the city open.

St Christopher’s School announced earlier this month they were closing because of financial trouble.

The residential school, based near Westbury Park, provides for about 40 children, all with complex special needs and struggle to go to mainstream school.

It is one of the oldest special needs school in the South West, having been established in 1945.

Worried parents say the school has been burdened with a £4million debt, and are desperate to keep it open. It is expected to close in March next year, with many children being forced to go as far as Southampton to find another school.

Bristol City Council is still in early discussions about finding another school for some of the children.

The petition, which was started by Jacob Maxwell – whose brother attends the school – includes a letter to Education Secretary Nicky Morgan, Prime Minister David Cameron and Minister of State for Disabled People Justin Tomlinson…

More at: Thousands sign petition in bid to keep special needs school in Bristol open

 

See the petition at change.org: Stop the closure of St. Christopher’s special needs school, Bristol

 

No idea if it is anything other than an unfortunate coincidence, but this closure seems to be hard on the heels of the similar closure of the Royal Deaf School in Margate.

Any local insights into what has happened? Please let us know in the comments or via Twitter…

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Categories: Local authorities.

Comments

  1. Many of these special schools rely on local authority willingness to pay fees.  As funding cuts bite, LAs can’t keep up with fee rises and the schools can’t manage without more money (it’s the same with adult social care).
    One solution would be for the Gov’t to turn them into free schools but that still leaves the problem of who would pay boarding costs.
    That said, we have a responsibility for these children with such complex needs.  £1b was overspent on the academies programme in the early Coalition years and money is still forthcoming for academy conversion.  Perhaps the Gov’t should re-order its priorities but is unlikely to do so.

  2. VictoriaJaquiss

    At a time when there is a great school shortage allowing any school to close because of finances is crazy, especially somewhere with a such a specialised service. Children have, as David once famously said, only one chance, and children with additional needs would never recover from a closure of this nature. A school is a family, a residential school, surely even more so.

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