GMB hold rally calling on MOD to continue funding Lypiatt School
GMB are holding a rally on 14th September calling on the Ministry of Defence to continue funding Lypiatt School for children repatriated to UK from British forces overseas
GMB, the trade union for school support staff, will be rallying outside Lypiatt School in Corsham, calling for the Ministry of Defence to continue funding the school that caters for children repatriated to the UK from British Forces Posted Overseas. [See notes to editors for previous GMB press release]
Details of the rally are as follows:
Friday 14 September
Gates of the Cotswold Centre (the school is inside the Cotswold centre, which is an MOD base)
Services Cotswold Centre
GMB members will be holding a banner saying "Save our School"
Andy Newman, GMB Branch Secretary, said: "Lypiatt School, which supports children from service families at the Cotswold Centre just outside Corsham, is in danger of closing. GMB are greatly concerned that the interests of service families and the vulnerable children at Lypiatt School are not being adequately protected. The MOD needs to act quickly to secure the future of this school, and its pupils.
"The danger of closure is due to the announced withdrawal of £60,000 of funding by the MoD Education Support Fund. The school provides specialist support for military families previously posted overseas, but who through relationship breakdown or bereavement, are repatriated by the armed forces to the UK.
"Lypiatt Primary School is the only school in the UK providing education for repatriated service children. Due to the nature of its pupils, and the short time their families stay at the tri-service Cotswold Family Centre, the school has widely fluctuating enrolment numbers, with as many as 30 or as few as 3 pupils during the same academic year. The fluctuation of numbers is starkly shown by the example that in May 2018 there were only 10 pupils at the school, there are now 28.
"GMB believes that there is a social contract with the women and men in our armed forces, the military covenant, that they and their families will be supported, in exchange for the sacrifices they make. GMB calls on the MoD to honour that obligation towards the children of service families.
"Closure of the school would result in these vulnerable children, often dealing with complex and difficult emotional challenges, being dissipated into mainstream schools who are not equipped to support them. In many cases the children have been exposed to parents themselves suffering from PTSD, related to military deployment.
"The fluctuating numbers of children attending the Cotswold Family Centre means that if the children are placed in other local schools, the council will still struggle to provide the appropriate level of funding for staff to support them. This will be detrimental not only to the children housed in the Cotswold Centre, but also disruptive of other local schools."
Contact: Andy Newman 0754 0859 227 or GMB Southern Press Office 07970 114 762
Notes to Editors
The MOD Education Support Fund funding, which has underwritten the school in recent years, has now been discontinued, and Wiltshire Council are consulting on the closure of the school. The amount being withdrawn by the Ministry of Defence in the current academic year is £59,392, which will impact on the educational provisions needed for children from service families, who have particular and specialist needs.
The placement of these particular children to Wiltshire is decided by the MoD, but responsibility for their education then rests with Wiltshire Council. The fluctuating admissions numbers are dictated by the MoD and the armed services, but the funding formula for local authority schools makes no allowance for such fluctuations, and therefore the school funding has been underwritten in recent years by the MoD Education Support Fund and the Armed Forces Education Trust.
Cotswold Family Centre
The Services Cotswold Centre (SCC) is a tri-service facility managed by Headquarters Army Welfare Service (AWS) and funded by Headquarters Support Commands (HQ Sp Comd) on behalf of the MOD. It provides short term transit accommodation for service personnel, their spouses, civil partners and families.
The SCC accommodation comprises of 60 self-contained chalet style homes and is located near Corsham, Wiltshire in the United Kingdom https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/services-cotswold-centre/services-cotswold-centre
Previous GMB Press Release
"GMB call on Ministry of Defence to secure future of Lypiatt Primary School" (3 July 2018) https://www.gmb-southern.org.uk/news/gmb-call-on-mod-secure-future-lypiatt-primary