Parents Tell of Bullying Fears; Proposed Shake-Up of Special Schools Divides Opinion

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Byline: By ANNETTE KINSELLA annette.kinsella@mrn.co.uk

CONCERNED parents have told how they fear disabled children would suffer under a shake-up of special schools in Coventry.

Education chiefs plan to scrap many special schools - leaving some youngsters with disabilities attending mainstream secondary schools.

A reduced number of places would be provided at new special schools for youngsters who would find it impossible to adapt to mainstream education.

The existing schools would be knocked down and replaced with new buildings near secondary schools as part of the plans. But parents at a public meeting at Sherbourne Fields School in Rowington Close, Coundon, last night, said they feared their children could fall victim to bullies.

Sue Lines, a mainstream school learning support worker who lives in Earlsdon and whose daughter goes to Sherbourne Fields, said she feared the move was "risky".

She said: "It is a bit like using them as human lambs to the slaughter.

"It might be better for children in mainstream schools (to gain experience of interacting with disabled pupils) but what about pupils here?"

Debra Giles, of Kelmscote Road, Coundon, is registered disabled and suffers from myotonic dystrophy, which causes muscle weakness, speech problems and heart rhythm irregularities,

Her son suffers from the same condition and is a pupil at Sherbourne Fields.

She said: "It is not the children we have to educate, it's the adults. …