Parents Anger Over Possible Closure Of Specialist Education Centre in Witchford
PUBLISHED: 09:52 26 November 2009 | UPDATED: 11:08 04 May 2010
THE parents of two children who rely on a specialist education centre have spoken of their anger at the news that the facility could close at the end of the year. The Green Box is a small classroom based on the site of Witchford Village College and was op
THE parents of two children who rely on a specialist education centre have spoken of their anger at the news that the facility could close at the end of the year.
The Green Box is a small classroom based on the site of Witchford Village College and was opened around five years ago to help children who are unable to attend mainstream school.
In the last month, Cambridgeshire County Council (CCC) has begun consulting with head teachers in East Cambridgeshire on the future of the Green Box and similar centres around the district, news which the parents have labelled "absolute madness".
Wicken resident Jenny Howard's 12-year-old Sam suffers from severe anxiety and has to be picked up every morning by a trusted teacher and transported to Witchford where he is able to study normally away from the stresses of mainstream school.
If head teachers around the district agree with the consultation however, Sam and around 150 other students who are unable to enter mainstream education for medical reasons, could have to travel to Cambridge for their education.
Mrs Howard said: "It is absolute madness. If the Green Box is closed it would be an absolute nightmare for Sam and for more than 100 other children who find it impossible to set foot outside the door in the morning let alone go to school.
"I have certainly not received a letter about the council's plans and neither have any of the parents I have spoken to who are in a similar situation, so the key stakeholders aren't being given their say.
"I have been told by a head teacher that the service that will be provided will be superior to the one that my son receives now but I just cannot see how sending him back into mainstream school will help, his education will suffer greatly."
Littleport resident Michael Godsmark's 15-year-old son Tom was so severely bullied he suffered a breakdown and has relied on the Green Box for his education,
"I totally agree that this is madness, if they close the centre it would be a huge backwards step for hundreds of children who need the support, said Mr Godsmark.
"The work that the Green Box staff have done with Tom has been fantastic and there has been a complete transformation in him but if the service is closed and the online facilities are stopped then we really don't know what we are going to do, especially as he has his GCSEs this summer."
A spokesman for Cambridgeshire County Council said: "No decision has yet been made on whether to discontinue the Green Box provision at Witchford Village College,
"We are still consulting with all interested parties. However, if the East Cambridgeshire Behaviour and Attendance Partnership conclude that the current provision cannot continue, an enhanced service will be provided elsewhere."
The county council also insisted that home tuition offered by the Green Box will continue and similar services will continue to be offered in other parts of the county.
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