Back our bid for free special needs school
PARENTS campaigning for a free school for children with special needs are appealing to families to back their bid.
Campaigners in Holderness want to set up a new school in the east coast area for 2014.
As part of their bid, they need to show they have support from families interested in sending a child to a new special school in the area.
Holderness parent Hazel Cockill said the Government will want to see there is a demand for the facility before ruling on the application.
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She said: "The New Schools Network is advising us on our application and they said we need to draw up a list to show numbers.
"We want a school of no more than 80 pupils and we have to show we have at least 20 names."
Mrs Cockill, 55, said a bid for Government funding will be submitted in December.
Potential sites are being looked at for the school, which would be called Make It Shine.
Campaigners say a special school is desperately needed in the east of the county because families have too far to travel to reach existing special schools.
There are special schools in Goole, Driffield, Welton and Hull but families on the east coast say these are too far from their homes.
Mrs Cockill's son Leo, 5, suffers travel sickness on the long journey to and from the family's home in Aldbrough to Ganton Special School in west Hull.
The mother of six said: "He is picked up at 7.15am to get to school at Ganton for 9am. He is then collected at 3.25pm and doesn't get home until after 5pm.
"It's too much for a young child and he gets travel sick."
Campaigners have raised almost £8,000 to support their application, with more fundraising events planned.
Mrs Cockill said: "A special school is desperately needed in this area because these children are having to travel too far.
"It's not fair on the children, they are too young to travel all that way.
"I don't understand why there has never been a special school in this part of the East Riding."
Beverley and Holderness MP Graham Stuart paid tribute to the "huge effort" made by the Holderness parents to launch their application.
The Tory MP, who is chairman of the Government's education committee, said: "It's an enormous challenge to get special educational needs (SEN) right for the Holderness area. The geography of the area means there are small pockets of SEN across the area and they need local provision, otherwise the children have to travel long distances.
"The Make It Shine School would have to fit into the overall pattern of provision in the East Riding which works best for these most vulnerable of all children.
"We need to be sure it would be sustainable in the long term after this dynamic and committed group of parents have moved on."
Visit www.sites.google.com/site/makeitshinesenschoolproject/home for details.