Furious parents demonstrated outside Walsall Council demanding more information on the closure of their children's special school.

The worried parents said they have been kept in the dark over problems at Jane Lane School and believe their children have been failed by the authorities.

The school had been placed in special measures following an Ofsted report in which education inspectors rated it as inadequate.

It was closed earlier this month due to staff sickness and is not expected to reopen until after half term.

 

A meeting for parents was finally arranged this week  (Wednesday, February 13) but an advocate who the parents had asked to represent them - retired head teacher Andy Summers - was escorted from the venue and barred from sitting in.

Mum Zara Sands, whose 13-year-old son Joshua has attended Jane Lane for four years, said: "There has been no communication.

"They closed the school saying it was down to sickness but we have been left in the dark. They haven't given us enough information, even at the parents' meeting.

"One of the panel even admitted they had failed us and our children. I feel like we are not being heard and our children have no voice.

"Joshua has learning difficulties, autistic traits, challenging behaviour and global behaviour. He doesn't cope well with change.

"I'm hoping for my son to get back in school and for them to talk to us and communicate. If they are making changes, tell us what they are doing."

Parents demonstrated outside Walsall Council House demanding information on issues at problem hit Jane Lane School.
Parents demonstrated outside Walsall Council House demanding information on issues at problem hit Jane Lane School.
 

Mr Summers, who worked in schools across Solihull and Warwickshire , said he was approached to help the parents to act as a broker to help them understand what was going on before he was barred from the meeting.

He added he was told by security at the meeting venue that he could be charged with trespassing if he didn't leave.

Mr Summers said: "I was told for confidentiality reasons, they could only let parents or carers in. I've not come across that before.

"When they removed me from the site, it literally was an escorting. It's disappointing they did that.

"If they wanted to show to the parents they were going to change the relationship with them and be more open then they needed to have people like me there.

"The fact they took such a strong arm action is an unfortunate message.

"I've been asked to continue to represent them. I'm an individual person, a retired teacher. I want to see the local authority understand it should admit when it hasn't got the resources.

"When they are asked to meet the needs of young people in an emergency situation like this, they don't have that resource but talk as if they do and can still manage."

A Walsall Council spokesman said: "The meetings held on February 13 were for parents and carers of the students only.”

"We fully understand that parents have concerns about both the Ofsted report and the temporary closure of the school.

"The purpose of the meetings was to talk with the parents and carers about the Ofsted inspection, action already in train to strengthen the school leadership and plans for getting the children back into education, appropriately and safely, bearing in mind the needs of each child.”