'These cannot be the right priorities' - parents to question Mapledown School cuts at meeting (From Times Series)
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Parents to question cuts to Mapledown School, Cricklewood, at Barnet Borough Council meeting
Parents will call on Barnet Borough Council to reconsider its decision to cut “vital” services at a special needs school this evening.
Hundreds were left horrified after the authority slashed £45,000 of after school activities at Mapledown School, in Claremont Road, Cricklewood.
They will gather at Hendon Town Hall, in The Burroughs, to urge the overview and scrutiny committee to save the play schemes.
The money was cut in the same year the Tory-led authority lowered its tax income by £1.3million and rejected a proposal to save £200,000 from councillors’ allowances.
But hard-up families now face spending between £45 and £105 per day to keep their children in the schemes.
Parent Tina Kwabi says she will ask why cabinet member Councillor Reuben Thompstone, who is in charge of Barnet’s schools, did not visit Mapledown before the cuts.
They will also ask what level of budget cuts the Government imposed on Barnet, and whether the council consulted parents and carried out an equality impact assessment.
A petition calling on councillors to reverse the cuts has now reached more than 1,000 signatures in less than two weeks.
The school provides education and care to 65 people with severe and complex learning difficulties.
In an open letter to Cllr Cornelius and Cllr Thompstone, the parents said: “This decision will severely impact on Mapledown School.
“As you have not taken the time to visit the school yourselves, perhaps you have not understood the impact this will have on our daily lives.
“You have blamed a reduction in central government funding, however in the very same budget settlement you rejected a proposal to save £200,000 from councillors’ allowances.
“These cannot be the right priorities.”
Council leader Richard Cornelius previously told the Times Series the average person on the street thinks the cuts are fair.
He added: “The council is working with the headteacher to mitigate the cut and to continue to provide this after school provision in some way shape or form.
“We were given temporary funding by the Government that was stopped and the money isn’t there anymore.”
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