Parents demand answers over speech class closure

Cllrs Tom Adams and Jim Young with parents, and pupils from Levenmouth Academy.
Cllrs Tom Adams and Jim Young with parents, and pupils from Levenmouth Academy.

Parents, pupils and councillors held a protest at Mountfleurie Primary against a Fife Council proposal to close a vital support service for children with speech and language needs.

Education and Children Services plan to cut the current classes at Mountfleurie and Crossgates primary schools from the current three days to two before closing it for good next January as part of a new “outreach model”.

The children will then attend their local primary full time, receiving their extra support in class.

Parent Lyndsay French, whose children both attended the class, said it was “brilliant”.

“There are vulnerable kids that have to go to this class,’’ she said. ‘‘Mainstream teachers aren’t going to have the time to sit with these children and give them the consistency that they need, and that was the reason this class was opened up in the first place.

“My own son came on leaps and bounds when he was there. The kids are getting the time and help they need. This class works.”

Councillor Tom Adams said: “This is not a budget cut. It’s education saying that this would benefit the kids. I have my doubts about that.

“My view is that this is a cut by stealth to promote teacher numbers by using those that are in mainstream education.

“But I would also like to know what exactly are the reasons for this? If something is working perfectly why would you take it away? Where is the evidence to say that this is not working and that it is going to a system that will work better?

“They haven’t actually given the parents a reason for this closure.”

Cllr Adams added that he had sympathy with the parents.

“Some of them are worried that their children are going into mainstream education and will be bullied.”