Bristol

Petition calls for special educational needs school in Yate

More than 5,000 people have signed a petition calling for a special educational needs school to be built in the town of Yate, near Bristol.

Campaigners say there are more than 250 local pupils with special educational needs or who need specialist support.

They are currently taught in mainstream schools or have to travel 11 miles to Thornbury, or eight miles to Warmley.

South Gloucestershire Council said it was "not possible" to provide specialist facilities in each area.

Andrew Ponter, who has a five-year-old daughter with Down's syndrome, said he had been advised she would get better support at New Siblands School in Thornbury, but that was too far for her to travel.

Specialist provision

"She would have to get up at 6:30am, get into a bus, travel all the way into the Thornbury and not get back until 5pm.

"What we're after is a school for children from pre-school age in Yate, which we just have not got."

A South Gloucestershire Council spokesperson said: "Most children in South Gloucestershire who have special educational needs can have their needs met in mainstream primary school.

"However, a small number of children have such severe learning difficulties that they require very specialist provision.

"With limitations on resources available to councils, it is simply not possible to provide these very specialist facilities in each local area.

"Therefore, we have made this specialist provision in strategic locations across the district, seeking to keep journey times to a minimum.

"We also provide or fund transport to enable children to access these schools."

Mr Ponter said he would hand the petition into the council next Monday.

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