STUNNED parents have been left distraught after being given just one week’s notice the MET (Medical Education Team) unit in Redditch is to close and be relocated 20 miles away to Kidderminster.
The children who attend the MET, including some from Bromsgrove, receive specialist educational care for learning difficulties, such as autism, as they are unable to stay in mainstream school.
It provides an informal, social environment where they can gain qualifications in core subjects like maths, English and science.
Parents received a letter last Thursday (July 14) stating the Easemore Road unit would shut for good in September. It is believed staff were told just two weeks before.
One angry parent, Rod Hewson said: “I want to know why we weren’t informed earlier and given a proper consultation.
“It has had a catastrophic effect on my daughter’s emotional state.
“This is not a decision that would have been made overnight – there would have been months of planning.”
His wife Sarah added: “What they’ve done is effectively take my daughter out of the education system.”
Kathy Humpherson’s son is the middle of his GCSEs at the unit. She said: “This is a crucial time for his education. If we had been told sooner and given some warning, we would have had some time to prepare and soften the blow, but being told a week before the summer term ends is beyond belief.”
Worcestershire County Council handed over the running of local authority education to Babcock Prime last year.
A Babcock spokesperson said it was after careful consideration the firm had decided not to renew the Redditch lease and consolidate services for north Worcestershire at a single – Kidderminster -base.
“This consolidation will offer a better solution for all involved and we remain actively engaged with staff and parents on the proposal.
“We would also like to stress our priority at all times is to ensure we offer high quality, safe provision to the children we support.”
County Councillor Joe Baker hit out at the decision.
“It is a disgrace yet again services that provide education and resources to some of the most vulnerable in the area are being moved to somewhere else, putting a financial and emotional strain on this town’s most vulnerable families.
“It goes to show the heartlessness of this Conservative-led county council, again commissioning and outsourcing different departments, especially children’s services.”
The MET shares a premises with, but is run separately, to the Forge School.