Leicestershire residents ‘furious’ over planned special school cuts

By Declan Lloyd

Leicestershire residents have reacted angrily to proposed cuts to Maplewell Hall School, in Woodhouse Eaves, put forward by Leicestershire County Council.

maplewell

The plans involve closing the residential element of the school which, according to the council, would save just under £300,000 a year.

Maplewell Hall School currently has 183 pupils with special needs including autism, anxiety and other sensory needs.

The residential element of the school allows its pupils to experience living away from home and living independently, with 24 students staying a night.

County councillor Peter Osborne launched a tirade against his fellow Conservative and council leader Nick Rushton over the planned closure at a cabinet meeting.

Mr Osborne said, during the meeting: “You have a chance to stop any further erosion of the rights of the people who are there and their parents by saying you are not going to proceed any further and withdraw this.

“What I would say to you chairman, and let me put it in more personal terms, if I could have your attention, if you had a child who needed special education, and if that child benefited from the residential educational provision, and if you weren’t as wealthy, would you be satisfied going home to your wife and saying, ‘It doesn’t matter. We are going to close’.”

A petition to save the schools residential element from closing was put onto change.org and currently has over 10,000 signatures supporting it.

Anne Murray, a signatory of the petition, said: “People from around the area are absolutely furious with this decision.

“I voted for some of the councillors who make some of these awful decisions and I won’t be voting Conservative ever again.

“The cuts that they are inflicting to local communities like this are absolutely disgusting.”

Cillian Jones, another signatory of the petition, said: “What the council plans to do with this school is scandalous.

“I have a friend whose little girl goes to Maplewell, she speaks the world of that place.

“The development of the most vulnerable in our society shouldn’t be given up to save such a small amount of money.

“Either way, when things go wrong, we will probably end up paying more in the long run.”

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