Parents react with anger to proposals for CLOSURE of special needs children's home in Milton Keynes

    Milton Keynes parents have reacted with anger to Council proposals to close a children's home for young people with special needs, currently home to five children.

    The Walnut's Children's Home is currently part of The Walnuts School in Hazeley near Shenley Church End and is home to five children who reside there for the entire calendar year, including school holidays.

    All pupils who attend the school and live in the home are on the autistic spectrum or have social communication difficulties.

    In addition to providing permanent accommodation, the home also has a separate 'targeted provision' for a number of young people each term. Council officials say that the number of young people using this averaged nine between 2013 and 2015, but has since fallen to three.

    But now Milton Keynes Council are proposing to close the home, and argue that the home is "not the most appropriate way to provide 52 week provision".

    They argue that there is limited outdoor space for the home, and that the dining room is a shared facility.

    Instead, officials are proposing a "separation of the home and school environment" and to use the home to create a sixth form teaching area.

    Consultation papers state that, if the closure goes ahead, alternative placements for children currently living at the home will be found.

    Campaigners have launched a petition to keep the home open which has now gained over 500 signatures, and they have launched a Facebook page too to promote their cause.

    One campaigner Marie commented: "Very very sad decision to close this place down! Our government and local authorities have a lot to be ashamed of! Shame on them how do you sleep at night!"

    Another added: "With the lack of alternative schools in Milton Keynes, surely some children will end up being moved outside the borough?"

    A consultation on the proposed closure is available for responses on the Council website and will be open for eight weeks.

    Cllr Zoe Nolan, Milton Keynes Council Cabinet member for Children and Families said: "We are doing an initial informal consultation on The Walnuts Children's Home and are keen to have your views."

    "I hope you will contribute to the online form or attend a meeting to let us know what you think of this proposal. We will consider what you say carefully before we develop this area any more."

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