1. ITV Report

Consultation closes over threatened special schools in Wiltshire

Children at Larkrise School taking part in their daily dance. Credit: ITV West Country

A public consultation over the future of three special schools in Trowbridge, Devizes and Chippenham has now closed.

The schools affected are Larkrise School in Trowbridge, St Nicholas School in Chippenham and Rowdeford School in Devizes. One proposal is to shut them to build a new, large school for children with special educational needs.

Campaigners say the schools are crucial to the happiness and educational well-being of young people with special needs.

Pupils at Rowdeford School benefit from learning in its extensive grounds. Credit: ITV West Country

If Rowdeford closed and a large school was built the children would lose their sense of identity, they would be swamped with so many pupils and in such a large site. And they would lose this amazing outdoor facility which is quite outstanding.

– Annette Foster, Chair of Governors, Rowdeford School

Wiltshire Council says it needs to create more school places - and that closure of the schools is possible, but not a foregone conclusion.

The problem is that at least two of our schools are fit to bursting already and we know there are more children coming through the system who need places in the future.

That's what we're always doing - we're looking to the future and have we got enough places? And at the moment we know we don't. So, if we do nothing, there will be nowhere for our children to go and the worst thing would be that they would have to be educated out of our county, which we don't want for anybody.

– Cllr Laura Mayes, Wiltshire Council
  • Video report by Robert Murphy