Parents’ threat over school unit

By Jamie White

Sunday, October 7, 2012

 

Parents’ threat over school unit

The former Love Lane School site in Cowes.

PARENTS have threatened to take their children out of a nursery if a proposed school unit for children with behavioural, emotional and social problems (BESD) is built next door.

The Isle of Wight Council is proposing the former Love Lane School site in Cowes be converted into a new school unit for up to 25 of the Island’s most challenging students.

But concerns have been raised about situating it directly next to Little Love Lane pre-school and nursery.

At a meeting at Lanesend Primary School, headteacher Caroline Sice emphasised the children were the number one priority.

"We agree the Island probably is in need of a BESD unit but it is being proposed for the wrong location. The safety of children is the most important thing and we truly care about them. We have visited several units across the country and they seem to be run very well but none are identical to what is be proposed here.

"We’ve been told bad language and smoking is common at the units and we must question if this is suitable for our young children to see and hear," she said.

The Isle of Wight Council said it had not been invited to the meeting, but it would welcome any feedback to include in the consultation.

Previously, the authority’s chief executive Steve Beynon said the pupils who would attend were all Island children who were either at Clatterford or Thompson House or at mainland placements — which took them away from friends and families — or in mainstream schools without the support they required, possibly to the detriment of other pupils.

"The new unit would be properly secure and supervised, and in most cases, those attending would be provided with travel to and from the school," he said.

But at the meeting, chair of governors at Lanesend, Peter Almond, added: "We have serious concerns about the council’s proposal.

"This is definitely not a case of 'not in my backyard’. We want what is best for the community and everyone concerned."

Chairman of Little Love Lane pre-school and nursery, Ken Burns, added: "The units we have visited appear to be very well safeguarded, with secured fencing. But we haven’t seen any that are placed just feet away from young children.

"I have already had parents telling me they would take their children out of the nursery if the site gets the go-ahead."

Reporter: jamiew@iwcpmail.co.uk

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