STUNNED parents have been left distraught after being given just one week’s notice that the MET (Medical Education Team) unit in Redditch is to close and be relocated 20 miles away to Kidderminster.
Parents of children who attend the MET, many of them autistic where they receive specialist educational care, received a letter last Thursday (July 14) stating that the Easemore Road unit will be closing for good in September. It is believed staff were told just two weeks before.
One angry parent, Rod Hewson said: “I want to know why we weren’t informed earlier and given a proper consultation.
“It has had a catastrophic effect on my daughter’s emotional state.
“This is not a decision that would have been made over night – there would have been months of planning.”
His wife Sarah added: “What they’ve done is effectively take my daughter out of the education system.”
Kathy Humpherson’s son is the middle of his GCSEs at the unit. She said: “This is a crucial time for his education. If we had been told sooner and given some warning, we would have had some time to prepare and soften the blow, but being told a week before the summer term ends is beyond belief.”
The MET provides children who are unable to stay in mainstream school with an informal, social environment where they can gain qualifications in core subjects like Maths, English and Science.
Worcestershire County Council handed over the running of local authority education to Babcock Prime last year and a spokesperson for that company said: “”Babcock Prime have decided after careful consideration not to renew our existing lease in Redditch and consolidate services for the north of the county in a single base.
“This consolidation will offer a better solution for all involved and we remain actively engaged with staff and parents on the proposal.
“We would also like to stress that our priority at all times is to ensure we offer high quality, safe provision to the children we support.”
However County Councillor Joe Baker (Lab, Arrow Valley East) hit out at the decision: “It is a disgrace that yet again services that provide education and resources to some of the most vulnerable in the area are being moved to somewhere else, putting a financial and emotional strain on this town’s most vulnerable families.
“It goes to show the heartlessness of this Conservative-led county council, again commissioning and outsourcing different departments, especially children’s services.”
The MET shares a premises with, but is run separately to the Forge School.