No word on proposals to close eight Suffolk school centres for children with additional needs

Joanna Hammond is concerned for her son Riley Hammond, four, who has autisim and global development

Joanna Hammond is concerned for her son Riley Hammond, four, who has autisim and global development delay conditions. - Credit: Su Anderson

Parents and teachers are still in the dark over proposals that could see eight school centres for children with additional needs close.

Last month Suffolk County Council backtracked on the plans for the centres, mostly run alongside mainstream schools, after coming under fire from a parents’ group.

Officials said cutting the centres, which they claim are underused, would save £250,000 from the overall £1.4million centres’ budget. But the council stressed that overall funding for the children would increase in the long-term with alternative support offered.

Joanna Hammond, from Falkenham, near Ipswich, is one of the parents behind the Save Suffolk Specialist Support Centres group, which now has more than 6,700 people backing them.

She said the original consultation for the proposals had been a “mess”. Her son Riley has autism and global development delay conditions and goes to Gorseland Primary in Martlesham Heath.


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She said: “No one has heard anything, everybody is in the dark including the teachers. It’s becoming quite depressing because the original consultation would have finished by March 9.

“We are only hoping that no news is good news but you never know with the council. From the parents’ point of view we cannot see how they can take away the provision.”

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Around 100 children go to the centres, which are based at schools mainly in east Suffolk and the Ipswich area.

A council spokesman said: “The consultation for this is currently still on hold. Information is being reviewed internally before we go out again in the future.”

He added that further information would be released in due course.

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