Parents of disabled pupils at Mapledown School, in Cricklewood, have been left unable to pay for their children’s after school clubs after a government change in the way money was allocated.

In a statement to the Times Series last week, Barnet Borough Council said Mapledown’s bid for funding ‘fell short on quality and price’.

Meanwhile, the parents and teachers say the children are suffering. Here, headteacher Steve Carroll has his say…

We were told there was a bidding process but that our bid didn’t meet the criteria. That is fair enough. It’s a very onerous process and I probably didn’t put as much effort as the other groups did because I already have a full time job as a headteacher. We were disadvantaged and, surprise surprise, we didn’t score highly enough.

READ MORE: Back at square one - but worse

It’s not a level playing field – you’re up against professionals. We made that point time and time again. I’m not employed to be a short bid writer – I did the best I could in the time that I had.

Five organisations won the tender but where are they now? There’s still nothing for our children to use currently listed on the Short Breaks website.

When we didn’t get the bid we asked the council what happens now and they told us not to worry and that everyone would be given a personal budget of more than £1,600. They promised it would give parents enough money to buy our clubs if they wanted them.

But the numbers don’t add up – that £1,680 forces parents to make a choice between the after-school club or the holiday play scheme, when they used to have both. The budgets aren’t big enough and you don't have to be a maths genius to calculate that there has been a large reduction in the budget in this area.

As a result, we’ve had to close our after school clubs. That's 3,040 after-school club places each year. Where are families supposed to go? What kind of a 'choice' is that?

I wrote a letter to Barnet Council last week challenging the anonymous spokesperson in the Times Series’ story as I want to know who they are comparing us to.

The idea that the clubs are unpopular, 'substantially more expensive' and undersubscribed is simply untrue. Nor have we been approached by any other provider to run clubs here at Mapledown. I was not happy when I read that. I felt like someone from the council is briefing against us when we’re meant to be part of the same team. Our forthcomimg half term playscheme is already overbooked and we are turning people away.

The idea that we’re too expensive is rubbish and is a travesty. Where is this coming from?

I am so fed up with the lack of communications and the spin. Despite reassurance, parents have had the rug pulled from under their feet. Maybe the 'preferred providers' will start putting their offer together soon but in the meantime it's a big loss.

Before the General Election, the Times Series spoke to Prime Minister David Cameron about the future of Mapledown. He said the reason the budget is down because “fewer children have been going” to the clubs.

But Mr Carroll added: This could not be further from the truth and if anyone from Barnet Council actually bothered to contact the school and asked to know what was going on they would soon discover the simple truth that families have been seriously let down. Popular and necessary after-school clubs have closed and there is nothing in their place and no good news on the horizon.

None of this should be happening - our pupils and their families deserve our respect and support.

In a statement, Barnet Council said: “We are keen to find a speedy resolution to this situation and have a meeting planned with Mr Carroll, his chairman of governors and Barnet Council officers this week to discuss a way forward for parents at Mapledown wishing to seek after school provision and play schemes for their children.”