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Opinion: Special school is great news, but let’s hope they have planned ahead – and then there was that kiss, surely Rubiales should be setting an example

Fenland, and in particular March, is finally going to get a much-needed special needs school.

Meadowgate Academy in Wisbech is a brilliant place for our children, who have learning and physical disabilities to attend. But it can only take so many and is almost always at capacity.

There has been a hard push for the powers that be to recognise the need for a new special needs school, and it appears they have finally listened.

Meadowgate Academy in Wisbech is currently the only special needs school in Fenland.
Meadowgate Academy in Wisbech is currently the only special needs school in Fenland.

The Government has given the greenlight to Cambridgeshire County Council to build a new 210 place multiple needs school in March and with any luck it will be opening its doors for the first time in September 2026.

But that is still two years away and in the meantime children, who really need to attend such a facility, are missing out on the extra support they need as they are forced to attend mainstream schools.

There is nothing wrong with our mainstream schools but if your child has specific needs they are not always able to offer that type of support or care.

The alternative, and it really does depend on whether there are spaces available, is for our Fenland children to be bussed off to schools much further afield – in some cases as far as St Neots to attend a special school.

And that can mean children as young as four or five being either put on a bus or in a taxi for an hour’s drive to and from school. How can that be right?

I wouldn’t want to see a child of mine that age being shipped so far from home. Supposing they are taken ill or something else happens, it is an awfully long trek for a parent – who is probably working – to have make to collect their child. And a poorly child has a long time to wait too.

A neuro-typical child of four or five is going to struggle to go off on a bus on their own to school let alone one who has autism or some other neuro-divergent need.

Let’s not forget either that an hour long journey to school means an hour long journey home again – that’s adding an unnecessary two hours to a young child’s day and that has got to be tiring.

For older children who have homework to do it makes their day harder too.

Why Fenland, when it has a higher than average number of special needs children, has only one special school is a mystery.

But it probably boils down to the age-old problem we seem to have with our esteemed leaders – and that is short-sightedness.

Surely, when Meadowgate was being built, someone might have thought maybe we should be doing this in our other market towns too.

Clearly not, because once again we are playing catch-up with the facilities we need in our area, and that is not good when it is our children and young people who are suffering.

So roll on 2026 and let’s just hope they have had the foresight to factor in future demand when deciding on the number of places the new school will have, otherwise we could wind up in the same position we’re in now…

I watched a lot of the women’s football World Cup – it was a fantastic event and our team did the country proud by making it to the final against Spain.

There is no doubt there was some brilliant football played not least by the Spanish team who broke our English hearts by beating us with one goal in that match.

The tournament cemented the women’s game as something worthy of support in the eyes of the world.

But all that good, and dare I say it the Spanish side’s jubilation in winning, has been completely overshadowed by a kiss. Some might describe it as a simple kiss.

But frankly there was nothing simple about the act or the fall-out the actions of Luis Rubiales, Spanish football’s president.

A man grabbing a woman, holding her head between his hands and planting a smacker on her lips, is simply wrong on every level.

Some might argue he got carried away in the emotion of victory. But, even if that was the case, it is still wrong and he should be able to contain himself.

The way I saw it, and you may argue differently, was an arrogant man in a powerful position taking advantage of a situation to kiss a young and attractive woman. My first thought watching the kiss, was they must have some sort of relationship going on – it was, to my eyes, that intimate.

People (and in this instance I really mean men) need to learn that you cannot go around invading other people’s (females) personal space, you can’t go grabbing them, kissing them and manhandling them without their consent – even if you get carried away for whatever reason.

In this day and age a man who is in the public eye, as Rubiales is, should surely understand that he has the absolute duty to set an example to others.

If Luis Rubiales is allowed to get away with it, what sort of message does that send out to young men globally?

That you can ‘attack’ a woman in front of the whole world and that it is OK, because it was a harmless, spur of the moment action.

No – Rubiales needs to hold his hands up and say I messed up, I’m sorry I realise what I did was wrong, here’s my resignation.

As for his mother going on hunger strike locked in her parish church until the Spanish player Jenni Hermoso admits she actually invited her son’s kiss – well there really is nothing quite like a mother’s love now is there?...

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