Delamere Forest school plans move

Delamere Forest special needs school is to close its property in the Cheshire countryside after 88 years to realise a long-held ambition to move to north Manchester, close to the Jewish community.

The move results from a partnership with the Together Trust, a non-Jewish social care organisation helping children and adults with special needs.

Delamere plans to transfer its 17 pupils to a school building in Salford provided by the trust. Residential pupils will stay in accommodation provided by Langdon College, a specialist facility whose students are mainly from the London and Manchester Jewish communities.

To help fund facilities in the new premises, the current school property will be sold.

"This will be the start of a new era for Delamere," said governors' chair David Clayton. "We recognise that this will be a very difficult time for the children, for whom stability is crucial, and it will be very worrying for their parents until they settle down in their new environment. We have started meeting the parents to give them every assistance so that the transition goes smoothly."

One problem faced by Delamere is that local authorities have been reluctant to send children to residential schools, offering places instead in their own day special schools. This has led to a fall in the Delamere roll.

"By placing the school in the Salford area, we will be able to offer a Jewish special education to children living at home with their parents," Mr Clayton explained. "We hope many more parents will want to send their children to the school and that local authorities will be more willing to pay for day places."

Had Delamere stayed put, substantial expenditure would have been required on the buildings.

"We made a cold approach to the trust and to our delight they wanted to work with us," Mr Clayton said. "They already had some Jewish pupils and some knowledge of the community which they wanted to increase. We believe this will be more beneficial than staying where we are, even though the school is in the most beautiful surroundings."

    Last updated: 6:00pm, February 18 2010