Medway Conservatives Appalled at Labour Group’s Attempt to Block New School for Children with Complex Needs, Disabilities and Challenging Behaviour

Medway Council’s Conservative Cabinet yesterday were pleased to unanimously support the progression of a proposal to provide a new independent school, which could include provision for both residential and respite care - catering for 210 children with challenging behaviour. The innovative £25million learning village could also provide additional support services, such as educational psychology, school nursing and access to other specialist support, and could also open to the community outside of school hours.

It is therefore with absolute disgust that Medway Conservatives have learned of the Labour Group’s intention to call-in yesterday’s Cabinet decision, signalling at best a total lack of understanding of the significant benefits of the proposal, and at worst a flagrant disregard for meeting the needs of Medway’s children. This amounts to an attempt to delay or even worse block the delivery of the entire proposal.

 

This proposal has been warmly welcomed by families and educational groups across Medway; including local parent action group ‘BOSS Campaign’, who recognised that “this is great news for the parents of Medway”. It is clear to Medway Conservatives that this proposal not only delivers the critical services needed to ensure all of Medway’s children are given the best learning opportunities to flourish, but also reduces the number of children who would need to be placed out of area to access the right services for their needs.

 

Cllr Andrew Mackness, Portfolio Holder for Children’s Services, said:

“I am in a state of genuine astonishment at the Labour Group’s disgusting behaviour and total lack of consideration for children and families across Medway who would so greatly benefit from an incredible learning facility, as detailed by the independent school proposal Cabinet agreed to progress yesterday.

Increased provision and inclusivity within Medway not only widens the number of options available to children and their families, whilst enabling them to access the support they need closer to their homes, friends, and families, but it also presents the potential for considerable savings to the high needs budget. This frees up much needed funds to invest in other areas of need.”

Cllr Alan Jarrett, Leader of Medway Council and Medway Conservatives, added:

“We have heard a great deal of noise from the Labour Group in the past regarding the need to spend to save, and their so-called support for increased provision within Medway. Their intention to call in the progression of the independent school highlights the truly nasty nature of Labour – a Group of many words and no action, which is so intent on political point-scoring that they are blind to the implications for children and families and are willing to go against their own word.

In contrast, the Conservative administration will continue to work hard for the people of Medway: planning for the future of Medway schools and children, and proactively exploring innovative ways to meet demand – that is why Cabinet colleagues and I so vociferously supported the proposal, and shall continue to do so.”