Advisory plan for Delamere

By Jonathan Kalmus, August 8, 2011

Leaders of the Delamere Forest special needs school in Manchester have admitted defeat in the fight against closure. But they have pledged that Delamere will continue as an advisory charity.

"The news is that the school has definitely closed but the charity will go on," said governors' chair Malcolm Joels, confirming that Delamere had failed to raise the £500,000 needed to secure its survival. The final classes were last week.

Most of the 17 pupils have found alternative schooling for September. Some will be absorbed into the Inscape House autistic school in Salford, where Delamere had relocated as a stand-alone Jewish facility a year ago.

The school's original Cheshire premises will probably be sold to a green energy company for conversion into offices. The downturn in the property market has meant that Delamere will receive way less than the £1.3 million offered by a previous bidder, who withdrew over planning difficulties. Money remaining after debts are covered will be used to sustain Delamere's future charitable work.

"Obviously we have some know-how of the needs of Jewish youngsters and we hope we will also get people to donate to the charity to help us," Mr Joels said.

"It will be about providing advice and services to Jewish families who have children with special educational needs, especially those around the autistic spectrum.

"We don't yet know what we will be able to afford."

One suggestion is for Delamere to assist a consortium of London-based Jewish organisations in planning a special needs facility in the capital.

Last updated: 10:07am, August 8 2011