Tag Archives: West Lothian Council

Pinewood School – 16 Primary Ones Going to Polkemmet

This blog article is taken from the Save Pinewood School facebook page, with permission. Pinewood School is a special school for children with Additional Support Needs. West Lothian Council has angered parents by trying to make changes without proper consultation or taking their wishes into account. The parents’ group have won major concessions, but obviously the fight for adequate provision goes on. 

Do you or a family member/friend have a child who’s needs are likely to require a special needs school placement starting school this August? Pinewood-3131499

We need to spread awareness of this change to new parents coming into the system, and the potential issues they may face because of it. They need I be made fully aware of their choices for their children.

There will be one 8 place P1 class starting in Pinewood in August 2014. The other 16 are to be placed in Polkemmet, which as yet has no appropriate facilities for such children. WLC has also decided this is NOT an annex – these 16 children will NOT be Pinewood children.

We need to make sure that this is not a repeat of what my son & the other children placed there in 2008 experienced when he attended Polkemmet (which WAS then classed as an Annex of Pinewood school) It was hurriedly arranged by WLC as Pinewood was full then too.
SIX YEARS later, and they’re in the same position, and are doing it again, despite having closed the Polkemmet Annex a few years ago..whilst keeping the Annex at Blackburn Primary School…

A string of fairy lights and a furry blanket in a corner is NOT what our children need. This was and is not ‘Provision for sensory needs/input.’ The whole set up was grossly inadequate for our children. It CANNOT be allowed to happen again.

So – new parents need to insist that these things are in place BEFORE August, AND ask to visit and SEE what is there. I advise you NOT to accept any false promises that ‘it will all be there by the time the children start in August’. It wasn’t for my son (and believe me, – I had assurances from many council officers from the education dept that it WOULD be).

As this is a ‘temporary’ arrangement, for 1 year, until the new consultations at the end of the year are concluded, WLC will want to spend as little on it as they can get away with. Our children NEED and deserve decent facilities and opportunities. EARLY INTERVENTION DOES NOT COME CHEAP. This whole mess is due to WLC’s failings. We need to ensure that the facilities these children need ARE properly funded and put in place this time.

We won! But we carry on regardless.

This is me, now:

West Lothian Council have emailed me tonight to say that, after all, our son Andrew can go back into the nursery class and re-start Primary One in August, for which we’ve been asking for three months.

So we won.

It still rankles though. A parent shouldn’t have to develop this level of knowledge of education law, be this persistent and fight this hard to get something so relatively straightforward.

Here’s a short quote from an email sent to us on 17 January this year:

“A parent is not required to give any reason for withdrawing their child but the education authority is required to consider whether the child will receive efficient education, suitable to age, ability and aptitude. Therefore, if the child is withdrawn from school, consideration will have to be given as to whether this child will receive efficient education and if not, appropriate proceedings initiated.”

Parents shouldn’t have to face this kind of threat, which as I worked out was based on an ignorant understanding of the legislation.

So the blog goes on absolutely regardless. We hope that we can share what we have learned  about the law, about the ways in which you can make your voice heard and push back against the pressure, and how to win.

Much more important things than this happened in Scottish education today. But tonight, we drink from the keg of glory.