Bristol

Bristol's Elmfield School for the deaf could be closed

  • 8 December 2010
  • From the section Bristol

A school that specialises in educating children who are deaf or who have hearing difficulties could close.

Bristol City Council made the proposal to close Elmfield School after an independent review was carried out.

The council wants to open "specialist resource bases" in the north and south of Bristol and a new base in a mainstream school.

A letter from the school's chair of governors to parents said they would "actively challenge" the decision.

The review is due to be released by the council in the next week, along with the authority's response.

The proposals would be subject to a six-week consultation period before the council make a decision on any potential closure in early 2011.

Gill Behenna, the chair of governors for the school, claimed the report "clearly recommended" that Elmfield should remain open.

Resource bases

"The local authority has chosen to disregard this recommendation from specialists in deaf education.

"Instead the LA [local authority] is making their own recommendation that Hearing Impaired Resource Bases should be set up in place of Elmfield School."

Ms Behenna added that she believed the closure would be bad for the school's pupils.

"Staff and governors already have a significant amount of evidence to show that this decision will have a negative impact on our children if it is implemented."

A statement from Bristol City Council said the report was intended to "inform policy, not make it".

"Many of the reasons given in the report behind this recommendation are not relevant to the situation in Bristol such as on the use of funding or that specialism would be lost.

"Our proposals seek to develop sustainable and viable deaf provision across the city."

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