Staff back community’s campaign to keep Emersons Green resource base
Parents and children turned out in force for the first protest in July. They were expected to do the same on September 30, gathering at Emersons Green to march to Blackhorse for a meeting with the council
STAFF at Emersons Green Primary School have backed a community campaign against the possible closure of its resource base, which enables disabled children to learn alongside mainstream pupils.
In a statement, National Education Union members said the school was “proud to be considered a beacon of inclusive practice” and thanked the parents aiming to ensure that provision for children with visual impairments and physical disabilities developed over 20 years was not lost.
It said: “All pupils who attend the school benefit from inclusion. They enjoy learning with, and developing friendships with pupils of all abilities and learn to appreciate that we all have different strengths.
“The school provides so much more than is available in a typical mainstream school. It is a unique and valuable provision for children with visual impairments, wheelchair users, braille users, communication aid users, Makaton users and cane users.
“Specialist support is given for pupils’ wide-ranging needs: speech and language therapy, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, mobility, tube feeding, oxygen, self-care and independence, manual handling, social and emotional needs and the fundamental need to develop independence. These needs are met through the skills and expertise of school staff working with a variety of therapists who are able to support a number of pupils in a single visit. The provision is both exemplary and cost-effective.
“The school has been visited by educators from around the world and is proud to be considered a beacon of inclusive practice.”
South Gloucestershire Council is considering “phasing out” the 12-place resource base once all children currently attending have moved on to secondary school.
It is part of a review of special educational needs and disabilities provision, which will bring an overall increase in places. The authority, which says the Emersons Green base has a high cost per pupil, will hold a consultation next month and make a decision early next year.
Supporters are continuing their campaign.
More than 6,000 have signed a petition and a march is due on September 30. More information can be found on their Facebook page.