Fight goes on for parents over special school move

PARENTS say they will continue their fight over plans to move an East Riding special school.

The East Riding Council’s Cabinet is due to discuss the cost of relocating Riverside School, in Goole to Bridgeview, in Hessle, 20 miles away, at a meeting later this month.

The plan is to upgrade Bridgeview so it offers a nursery, boarding facilities and a sixth form.

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But some parents are concerned about the effect of the upheaval on children, increased travel times and mixing pupils with different levels of need. They say part-time teachers at Goole may not be able to afford travelling costs to get to the new school. Trudy Cooper, of Riverside Support Group, who will be sending her son Jacob to Riverside this September, said: “The main issue is the disruption and how upsetting it will be for the children, who benefit from stability, regularity and familiarity.

“We remain positive and will continue with our campaign until the very end. The school, its children, parents and our community are not ready to give up yet.”

The council’s inclusion and access manager Paul Butler said the Cabinet decision would only be on whether the funding was available and the decision on whether or not to relocate had still not been made. There would need to be further consultation, including six months of statutory consultation, before a final decision.

If it did go ahead, the Riverside site may house a pupil referral unit as well as provision for primary school children with social, emotional and behavioural difficulties.

A report being discussed by a council scrutiny committee this week says an overhaul of special needs provision, including the Bridgewview proposals, would cut the £2.8m cost of sending children with special needs to independent schools outside the area. East Riding Council has the highest number of children in Yorkshire and the Humber with complex needs at schools outside their boundary. The report said: “The cost of out of county placements, where we cannot place pupils in the East Riding because of capacity and designation issues, is in excess of £2.8m per year and the proposed designations will aim to reduce that cost.” Currently 225 children with special educational needs are educated outside the East Riding.