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Gosden House article in print
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Guildford MP Anne Milton with Gosden House pupils
Photo credit: Eagle radio
This April we featured Gosden House in the Guildford Magazine. We would like to wish parents and everyone else involved the best of luck with the campaign. For those of you who don't receive our magazines, you can enjoy the print article below, or click here and turn to page 53 to see the article in the digital edition of our magazine
Article appeared in April 2014 Guildford Magazine: SAVE GOSDEN - Parents fight back as Surrey County Council propose to close Gosden House special needs school in Bramley
Gosden House School in Bramley faces possible closure following an announcement from Surrey County Council that it will be reorganising the county’s special needs provision.
Council members are proposing that Gosden, which currently caters for children aged 5-16 with complex special needs, should become a secondary school for high functioning autistic 11-16 year olds. Parents feel that the consequences of such action have not been considered “in the rush to save money.”
Last month Guildford MP Anne Milton met pupils and offered her support to Gosden’s Parent Action Group, who are campaigning to save the school.
“You just need to walk through the door and you can feel this amazingly positive atmosphere,” said Mrs Milton. “It’s a special school, with special staff and special parents. It would be a tragedy if we lost that.
“I want everybody who’s going to make this decision to come along to a meeting with no preconceived ideas. This isn’t something that you can do on a piece of paper.”
There has also been talk of combining the current facility with the proposed school for high functioning 11-16 year olds with autism, but parents remain unconvinced. They are worried such a plan could put their own children at risk if separation of the two pupil groups was not properly managed. Another factor is the introduction of boys. While Gosden is currently co-ed until 11, it is unique in that its senior school is all girls.
“This is rare, as special needs schools tend to be very boy dominated,” said parent Laura Sabhawal. “Young teenage girls who are going through puberty need to have same-sex peers they can chat to, which is something they won’t get anywhere else, where there are usually only one or two girls per class.”
Currently, the senior girls play a crucial pastoral role in caring for their younger peers. This relationship could be lost in a mixed senior school.
“We have to play nicely with the younger children,” explains 13-year-old pupil Annabel. “At lunch time we bring the plates to our tables and at break time we play It.”
“Sometimes when I cry the senior girls take care of me,” says 7-year-old Sophie. “They make me smile.”
Click here and turn to page 53 to see the article in the digital edition of our magazine
Click here to sign the petition to save Gosden House school