Medway Labour and Cooperative Group today welcomed Medway Council’s Special Needs capital budget proposals that will see long-awaited expansion of two local schools with special needs.

Abby Court School, in Strood, and Bradfields School, in Chatham, are both intended to have expanded provision for students in response to growing need.  Both schools are graded ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted.  The enhanced provision at Abbey Court, in particular, has been argued for over several years by Medway Labour Group, following protests by parents.  The proposed investment will result in expanded secondary provision at Abbey Court School being built on the same site as the current primary provision.

Cllr Chrissy Stamp, Labour and Co-operative Member of the Children’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee, said today, ‘I welcome the proposed capital funding to expand these outstanding schools.  These young people are among our most vulnerable residents.

‘It is absolutely vital that we work hard to keep them in their communities and within their families.  It is simply wrong for them not to have had the school accommodation they need or to be threatened with being educated outside of Medway.  I’m pleased to see that the council has finally seen sense and done what Medway Labour has been arguing for years.’

Clive Johnson, Medway Labour and Co-operative Shadow Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, said today, ‘I’m really pleased that Medway Council, at long last, has seen sense and agreed to move Abbey Court’s secondary provision to the Cliffe Road site and expand the numbers which can be accommodated.  This was what was originally agreed by the council in 2013 and which has always been the sensible option.  It was resisted by the council and previous portfolio holders, in the face of parents whose children desperately needed the secondary provision.

‘There was always an argument about doing the right thing by these vulnerable young residents of Medway, but there has always been a clear financial argument, too, about investing now in order to save money that would have otherwise been spent sending these young people away from their families.  We have been making those arguments for years and it is good that the Conservative administration has finally caught up and done the right thing.’

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