On Thursday, Wirral’s ruling Labour cabinet voted unanimously to close Lyndale School from January 2016. Several hours of presentations were followed by an extremely brief rubber stamping of a pre-printed motion to close the school.
For me, there are a few stand-out features of this case:
- The political oversight has been extremely weak. Cabinet has accepted the view of officers and external consultants without offering any visible challenge. Inevitably, those affected suspect a hidden agenda.
- The official consultation yielded an incredible response, most notably from the Lyndale parents whose detailed submission was a real tour de force. When such a huge response generates zero return it is hardly surprising that the public is incredibly sceptical about such exercises.
- We all know that local government finances are being squeezed but this closure won’t save a penny as funding comes from outside Wirral. Labour rightly blames the government for slashing council funding but that won’t wash in the case of Lyndale. This makes the decision all the more bizarre.
It certainly makes a mockery of Labour’s claims to “protect the vulnerable”. You don’t get more vulnerable than the kids who attend Lyndale. No wonder parents were left in tears and the rest of us shaking our heads with disbelief.