Parents' bid to give axed Lincoln special school a new role
The site of a Lincoln special school set to be closed down could be resurrected as a training centre for children with disabilities.
Queen's Park School, for children with severe and complex special needs, will close in August next year.
Existing pupils will be moved to St Francis or St Christopher's special schools in the city.
The decision to close the South Park school was taken by Lincolnshire County Council in December, despite months of tireless campaigning by parents and staff who battled to save the school.
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Now, in an attempt to retain something that will be of benefit to children with special needs, the head teacher and parents are proposing a training and education centre. And the county council has confirmed it will take a look at the business plan.
Councillor Patricia Bradwell, executive member for children's services at the county council, said: "When the decision was taken to close the school I put forward the offer that the school building could be used for some other community purpose.
"The head teacher, together with a group of stakeholders, has now come forward with a proposal that the site be used as a training and education centre for children with disabilities.
"We have asked them to develop an effective business plan and present it to us.
"Although we haven't yet received this we hope it will help provide a good, sustainable community facility for children with disabilities. We haven't received any other proposals for use of the site."
The school's chairman of governors, Tony Gray, said although it was too early to say what the future of the site would be, he supported any plan which supports disadvantaged children.
He said: "It's still early at the moment but we're having discussions about the best use that can be made of the land and buildings once Queen's Park School has closed.
"I'm not aware of any concrete proposals as to the use but the county council has given us assurances that the intention is to use the land to benefit the community.
"It will be very nice, given the sad consequence of the local authority's decision, if the assets at the school that have been built up over the years continue to support people with special needs.
"It's something that would give people with special needs a better opportunity to make the most of their potential."
Mum Debbie Gutsell, 28, of Carlton Boulevard, Lincoln, whose son Joshua, 10, goes to Queen's Park, said: "I think this plan is absolutely fantastic.
"The school should remain open. It's a fantastic site with great facilities and a swimming pool. There's every reason why it should remain for the use of people with disabilities. Maybe a bit of Queen's Park can still exist."