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Stafford children’s specialist speech centre to shut

By Tom Oakley | Stafford | Education | Published:

An education centre which caters for children with speech and language issues is to close.

Harrison Baughan 6, with, left, mother Louise Baughan and, right, father Chris Baughan

The Flash Ley Speech and Language Centre, which is in the gas-hit school in Hawksmoor Road, Stafford, teaches 10 youngsters with specific speech and language disorders between the ages of four and seven.

Staffordshire County Council has confirmed the school is being earmarked to shut from March 2018 – with current students being moved into mainstream schools.

Louise Baughan’s son Harrison, aged six, is in his second year at the centre, and she says he will be forced to find a new school part way through his final year.

“Harrison started age four and can now talk thanks to his teacher," she said.

"It’s only a small class which is all they can cater for but they want to keep it that size so the children can focus on their language.

“He’s now six and about two weeks ago we were told it was closing and all the kids are being transitioned into main schools.

“This isn’t so much about him, but for all the other kids with similar issues that won’t be able to use the facility.

Harrison with his mother Louise and father Chris and brother Tobias

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“He can talk now but has still got very disordered language. And with kids being kids, in a mainstream school, they will just laugh which he gets upset about.

The council says although the centre is performing well, the centre is being decommissioned with pupil numbers dropping to six by Christmas this year.

County Councillor Mark Sutton, cabinet member for children and young people said:

“While the Flash Ley Speech and Language Centre is performing well, the majority of the pupils in the centre are from South Staffordshire and Cannock, with some travelling up to an hour to get to the centre.

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"We feel we can provide the children who use the centre even better support at their local, mainstream school so they don’t have to travel so far.”

“All of these pupils are already due to leave in summer 2018 to go back into mainstream schools.

"We will be working closely with them to ensure they are able to access their local school, as well as providing them with support during the summer term as they get ready to transition.”

Tom Oakley

By Tom Oakley
Trainee Multi-Media Journalist

Reporter covering the areas of Staffordshire/Walsall and responsible for the Stafford & Stone weekly edition. Came through the Express & Star apprenticeship scheme.

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