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WEEKEND WEB: Free Press letters

Your views on special schools and, of course, Brexit...

Something very special could be lost to our children

Thank you for publishing the article written by John Hayes, expressing the view held by myself and many parents of children in special schools, that the specialist training, experience and knowledge found in these schools can provide an individualised education that can transform the lives of our children.

My own son has been lucky enough to attend a specialist school, which focuses on his condition, for the past six years.

The early intervention, specific environment and uniformly applied teaching strategies have equipped him with skills I could never have imagined when he was three-years-old.

In a school without this specialist knowledge and environment, I do not believe he would have made half of the progress he has.

When there is such excellence in our local special schools, why should any specialisms be sacrificed for a desire to make them all the same?

Mr Hayes recognises that ‘one size does not fit all’, and that in the drive to make all schools appear the same, something very special, that benefits so many, could be lost to Lincolnshire and its children.

Amy Webster


Thank you for raising awareness

I felt compelled to write to thank MP John Hayes for such a compelling article last week.

His consideration for the greater picture over Lincolnshire County Council’s proposals spoke volumes to me.

I whole heartedly agree, we need to learn from the mistakes of the past and look to create more specialist provision, not “one size fits all” for the some of the most vulnerable children in the county.

In addition to voicing my support for Mr Hayes’ article, I would also like to express admiration and gratitude to Callum Brazzo in his insightful artical; I felt this mirrored beautifully with Mr Hayes writing as to the importance of understanding a specific disability when it comes to eduction.

Thank you for raising awareness about such an important issue.

Alexa Howard-Chalmers


They won’t survive in mainstream setting

Lincolnshire County council’s plans for SEND (children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities) are good for some, however they are not good for all.

The concept of ‘every child matters’ must be central here. As Mr Hayes says very clearly, children with ASD (autism spectrum disorder) are a special case. Gosberton House staff know this and are experts at dealing with this very challenging spectrum of conditions.

These young people will not survive or thrive in a mainstream setting, or even an all-special needs school setting. ASD children have very different requirements to a student who has a physical disability for example.

With over 30 years’ teaching experience I know this and have seen many examples of the system failing children with ASD.

Many of them end up in removal units or behavioural units or find themselves excluded but do not understand why they are there. Busy schools do not have time to deal with individuals with particular needs and so they are lost to the system.

Gosberton House is not broken. It does not need changing. It is a centre of excellence and should be used as such by Lincolnshire.

Dame Mary Warnock in 2005 said “small specialist schools provision is needed” after admitting that her ideas of inclusion were wrong in the Warnock Commission Report of 1978.

We must not let down these unique and very precious children so once more I ask Lincolnshire to remember that “Every child matters” and one size does not fit all.

Bob Duddridge

Retired teacher


Callum’s article a breath of fresh air

I’m writing to say what a wonderful read, reference MP John Hayes’ article.

I absolutely agree with every word. One size certainly doesn’t fit all and children’s wellbeing is paramount. Sadly many schools want extra children because of extra funding, with detrimental affects to autistic children.

Many are being let down in mainstream and many can’t cope in all-needs schools,This is where Gosberton House Academy comes into its own with its specialist provision.

I applaud the MP for speaking on this issue.But also pleased to see an autistic author sharing his views. Callum’s article is a breath of fresh air.

He understands the struggles, having been their himself.

Excellent read this week. Thank you and in total agreement of both wonderful articles.

Jane Peck

via email

One size certainly does not fit all

It’s not very often I find myself in agreement with a Conservative MP but John Hayes’ column this week was spot on.

One size certainly doesn’t fit all and Lincolnshire County Council should be wary of rushing headlong down this road.

The specialist autism provision provided by Gosberton House Academy should be protected at all costs, both for the children who benefit from attending this outstanding school now and those children that may need that provision in years to come.

Adrian Peck

Parent of child at Gosberton House Academy

Let’s not leave anyone behind

As the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee met recently to look at the impact of Brexit on the automotive sector, there were calls for the Government to keep the closest possible relationship with the existing EU regulatory and trading framework to give UK volume car manufacturing a realistic chance of survival post-Brexit.In a recent published report regarding the impact of Brexit on the automotive sector, the BEIS Committee says a no-deal puts hundreds of thousands of UK jobs at risk and threatens hundreds of millions of pounds of inward investment.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) estimated the introduction of trade barriers to result in a £4.5bn drop in exports while other studies pointed to a greater decline.

The report finds that non-tariff barriers, in the form of border delays and increased bureaucracy, will also impact on UK competitiveness. It recommends the Government to place a high premium in its Brexit negotiations on securing frictionless trade for the automotive sector. The total turnover in the UK industry was £77.5bn in 2016, but with the UK automotive industry being export-led with Europe as the primary market. The industry is also one of the most closely integrated sectors with the EU. The UK automotive sector’s success is built on the complex supply chains that stretch throughout Europe. Many components are transferred through different countries before being assembled into the final product in the UK.

The report takes a hard look at potential opportunities arising from Brexit but finds it unrealistic to expect an expansion of trade overseas to outweigh the loss of trade to Europe arising from a hard Brexit.

Also, any new bilateral trade deals secured are unlikely to lead directly to a significant increase in investment and jobs. The committee found that retaining good access to the single market would be more important than securing the freedom to secure new trade deals with third countries. On the key issue of the future regulatory regime, the report does not identify any potential benefits from divergence from the EU, only costs. The report recommends the Government seeks in the negotiations to preserve existing arrangements for the certification of vehicles throughout the EU, either as part of a Mutual Recognition Agreement or some alternative arrangement.

To maximise trade opportunities with the EU – the UK’s biggest trading partner – and to provide certainty to global manufacturers, the Government should also aim to retain regulatory alignment with the EU regulatory framework for the medium term. Our automotive industry employs over 800,000 people. It’s all very well for this Government to divide UK industries into high, medium and low priority categories in the Brexit negotiations, with steel, oil and gas sectors marked as low. We need to develop the UK’s infrastructure and industrial base for the future and make sure nobody is left behind.

Rodney Sadd



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