Jan 29 2010 by Amanda Mckendrick, Lennox Herald (main ed)
A DAD has called on West Dunbartonshire Council to step in and help save a special needs school threatened with the axe.
Argyll and Bute Council says a declining roll has forced it to review the future of Parklands Special School in Helensburgh.
Closing the 19-pupil school and transferring its pupils – many of whom have complex special needs – to mainstream education – is one of the options.
But Dumbarton man Pat Rainey, whose son Paul attends Parklands, believes the school’s additional capacity could be utilised by pupils from West Dunbartonshire.
The 61-year-old said: “My son is leaving the school in March, along with a couple of other pupils and the loss of funding for their places is one of the reasons the school is closing.
“Paul is 18 and has been at Parklands since he was a year and a half old. It’s a fantastic school.
“It was built under Strathclyde Regional Council and originally accommodated pupils from across the Dumbarton area.
“The problems started when they changed the boundaries and Parklands came under Argyll and Bute because there just weren’t enough kids in that area with special needs to fill the school.
“West Dunbartonshire pupils go to Kilpatrick School, but apparently it is at capacity.
“If the council could come to some arrangement with Argyll and Bute, where Dunbartonshire pupils could once again receive their education at Parklands, it would be a perfect solution.
“Pupils from Helensburgh go to Our Lady and St Patrick’s in Dumbarton so it is possible.”
MSP Jackie Baillie has tabled a motion in the Scottish Parliament in support of Parklands.
She said: “Some of these children have complex needs and there is no way they could cope with mainstream education.
“We need specialist provision for children who are profoundly disabled and Parklands provides that.”
A spokeswoman for Argyll and Bute Council said the authority was gathering views of staff, parents and others to form an initial report.
She added: “No decision on the future of Parklands School has been taken. Should any proposals for change be made, they will be fully consulted upon and considered through the usual council channels.”