Parents’ anger at closure decision

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Children with special educational needs (SEN) are facing an uncertain future after it was revealed a school in Bury St Edmunds will close its specialist support centre.

Abbots Green Community Primary School, in Airfield Road, will close its SSC in July 2014.

Jasmin Clarke, whose son Harry, seven, goes to the centre, said: “I’m angry, disappointed and I feel let down because my son’s education is in uproar as they haven’t made provision for him.”

Harry has cerebral palsy, as well as delays in speech and learning, and has come on in ‘leaps and bounds’ recently.

Miss Clarke fears his progress will be stunted if he is forced to travel to another SSC in Ipswich, Felixstowe or Sudbury, or attend Riverwalk School, in Bury, which is for children with profound and complex learning needs, making it, she says, unsuitable for her son’s ‘moderate’ needs.

Angela Lee, whose son Spencer attends the SCC, said the county’s provision was already unsatisfactory.

She said: “Suffolk County Council’s cheaper solution is to either ship them off to Riverwalk School, which is completely unsatisfactory for a child with moderate learning disabilities, or they will more likely offer a pathetic two and a half hours per day one-to-one support worker for the disabled child within a mainstream class. This is disgraceful and inappropriate to the child’s needs.”

Tina Hale’s son Joseph is also a pupil. She said: “There’s nowhere for our children. We’re left in a void. If they fail our children now because of money, it’ll be them who suffer in the long run because they won’t be able to get jobs in the future.”

A spokeswoman for the school said governors had taken the decision because it was felt the SSC was ‘not sustainable in its present format’.

She said: “This decision has been one of the most difficult and emotional that the school has made.

“However, the school has continued to experience numerous difficulties with the SSC and, despite lengthy discussions with the Local Authority, the governing body feels that the ongoing issues are having a detrimental effect on the children, their families and school staff.”

A county council spokeswoman said talks were taking place about alternative appropriate educational provision.