Page last updated at 16:47 GMT, Friday, 19 September 2008 17:47 UK

Autism school standards protest

One of the protesting parents
Parents are angry that improvements have not been carried out

Parents of autistic children have protested outside a council office, claiming the local authority is failing to address standards at a school.

The families' children are students of Ysgol Plas Brondyffryn in Denbighshire.

Two Care Standards Inspectorate for Wales reports highlighted 21 different areas where improvements were required.

Denbighshire County Council has said it's working with the school to meet all recommendations ahead of a re-inspection next month.

The parents claim failings identified by reports in 2006 and 2007 haven't been properly addressed.

A handful of protestors gathered outside council offices in Ruthin to make their feelings known.

Because our children can't speak and express their opinions or their views it's a matter that they they're able to suffer in silence
Dave, parent

They also claimed they had not had a proper response from Denbighshire County Council's Chief Executive Ian Miller.

One parent who attended the protest, who gave his name as Dave, said: "I'm really disappointed that its had to get to this stage.

"I just feel a lot of the problems with autistic children generally get ignored.

"Because our children can't speak and express their opinions or their views it's a matter that they they're able to suffer in silence and the council are able to hide the issues that are there for these children," he added.

Denbighshire council said the school was re-inspected by the Care and Social Services Inspectorate for Wales in November 2007, following an inspection in August 2006.

It has acknowledged that the re-inspection highlighted a number of outstanding issues, and has promised action ahead of a further inspection next month.

Response

A spokesman said: "The council is now working with the school to ensure all outstanding recommendations, including the concerns raised by the parents, are addressed and all progress is documented in preparation for this inspection."

In a statement, the Care and Social Services Inspectorate for Wales have said it's up to the Local Education Authority to act on their recommendations.

There has been criticism of several aspects of the county borough's education services in recent years.

In July, the local authority announced it was closing Hyfrydle, a residential centre for autistic children attached to Ysgol Plas Brondyffryn, less than a year after it opened.

The decision was attacked by unions, local Assembly Members and the National Autistic Society.

Last year, a damning report by the schools inspectorate, Estyn, led to the resignation of council leader Rhiannon Hughes, and the establishment of an independent education recovery board.

Earlier this week, it was announced that the man charged with preparing and implementing the Estyn plan, Huw Griffiths, had resigned from his position of Corporate Director of Lifelong Learning.


SEE ALSO
Council to close autism centre
15 Jul 08 |  North East Wales
Expanded autism centre to close
11 Jul 08 |  North East Wales
Go-ahead for autism centre
05 Mar 04 |  North East Wales
Work begins on special school
19 Jul 02 |  Wales

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