Parents and staff furious after council delays decision on future of Ash Field Academy
Ash Field Academy’s residential unit has been at risk of closure since October 2021 – now a decision has been set back
Ash Field Academy
Parents and staff at a special needs school are furious after Leicester City Council delayed making a funding decision which they say is vital to its future. The residential facility at Ash Field Academy, in North Evington, has been at risk of closure since October 2021, when the city council began to consult on a plan to withdraw funding.
The school, in Broad Avenue, currently offers overnight accommodation for up to 18 special needs pupils four nights a week during term-time. The school said the unit would potentially be forced to close should the £400,000 Government money it receives via the city council be stopped.
A decision was expected by the end of March, according to the school. However, it was informed last week that this has been postponed until after the local elections in May.
Penny Allsopp, whose child uses the residential unit, said: “Leicester City Council have been made aware how the people of Leicester, their voters, view the proposal to withdraw funding to Ash Field residential. They are completely opposed to the proposal.
“Delaying the decision is clearly about not giving an answer just prior to an election because they know there will be lost votes. This is harmful to the well-being of the young people who anxiously await a decision. It’s time to put people before votes.”
The city council has disputed this claim and said the decision had been delayed to take into account a petition submitted by Unison on Tuesday, February 28. A council spokesperson told LeicestershireLive that it wasn’t possible to verify the petition before an education committee meeting on Tuesday, March 21.
They added it would have been inappropriate to make a decision without considering the petition. However, the school’s Unison rep, Tom Barker, said the document was submitted on Friday, January 6, giving enough time, he said, for the committee to vote on the funding issue.
Article courtesy of Leicestershire Live