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Joy as March mum's petition exceeds 600 signatures in plea for better special needs provision



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A Fenland mum is over the moon after a petition she launched for improved special needs provision in her home town has won public support.

Single mum Amy Loveridge, whose five-year-old son Archie is currently struggling in a mainstream school because of a lack of special needs places, launched the petition on December 2 and within a week she hit the required 500 plus signatures to have it discussed at Cambridgeshire County Council.

She has now handed it over to March councillor Jan French who has agreed to take it to the children and young people committee when it meets in January - unfortunately Amy missed the deadline for this month’s meeting.

Amy Loveridge presents her petition to Councillor Jan French who will be taking it to the county council. (53682961)
Amy Loveridge presents her petition to Councillor Jan French who will be taking it to the county council. (53682961)

Archie is desperately in need of a place at a special school because he is currently repeating reception year at Westwood Academy in March because his autism has led to him falling behind.

Amy, who praised Westwood for what they are doing for Archie, is concerned he may even be forced to repeat it again next year and is calling for special needs provision in March so children like Archie can get the education they need closer to home.

Her petition hit a chord with other parents of special needs children with many signing the petition and adding comments such as: “My daughter is autistic and currently attends Westwood, after Christmas she will be attending the brand new school for autistic students The Cavendish school 27 miles away in Cambridge.

“ It would be lovely if March could have a large special needs unit on one of the primary schools, such as Westwood, with specialist teachers and assistants. Cambridge is going to be too far for us to travel every day but what other choice do we have.”

Another wrote: “Children have to wait too long to get a school place and travel too far to access the education they need in a setting that can meet their needs.”

At the moment Amy said if Archie gets a special needs place he is facing lengthy taxi journeys to schools outside of March in places such as Ely, Huntingdon, Littleport and even St Neots, because nearby Meadowgate Academy in Wisbech has no spare place for him.

She said: “I really don’t feel comfortable with the idea of waving him off in a taxi for a journey of at least 40 minutes each way and I’m sure many other mums feel the same way.

“He is already tired when he gets home from school, the extra travelling time is going to be too much for him.

“That’s why I really hope the council takes notice of my petition and looks at providing March with a special needs school or unit which could serve the nearby villages too.

“I’m really grateful to Coun Jan French for agreeing to present my petition for me.

“I also want to say a huge thank-you to all those who signed it - it really means a lot.”

Coun French added: “Clearly there is a need for special needs provision in March.

“Over 500 people have got behind Amy’s petition which shows there is a demand, it is now up to the county council to look at the situation and see if there is something they can do.”



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