School’s cash fight

Michael Downs, Lauren Allum, Mateo Sanderson, Liam Davidson and Matthew Sessions in one of the cramped corridors.

Michael Downs, Lauren Allum, Mateo Sanderson, Liam Davidson and Matthew Sessions in one of the cramped corridors.

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PUPILS from a Blackpool special school have told how they feel badly let down by the Government as they launch a new fight for a school overhaul.

Highfurlong School, in Blackpool Old Road – which offers education for young people up to 19 with special educational needs and disabilities -– had its dreams for a new building left in tatters last year.

The site was earmarked for a new £12m school, but hopes faded when the Government’s Building School’s For The Future scheme was scrapped.

Now faced with narrow corridors which cannot accommodate wheelchairs, no storage space and no quiet zones – the school has decided to take action.

And when a recent report showed urgent repairs are needed which are expected to cost £500,000 – their fight became even more urgent.

BBC news programme Newsround is visiting the school today and pupils hope their voices will be heard by those in power.

Sharon Evenson, 18, said: “We feel our school has been very badly let down, we were promised a new building but the Government has taken this away.

“They don’t understand how badly we need more space, it’s a safety hazard which is not the school’s fault.

“We’re disgusted with our treatment and feel we’re disadvantaged because we’re a special school.

“We have as much right to good facilities as mainstream pupils.”

Students say it is “virtually impossible” for wheelchair users to pass in the narrow corridors and there is no space for equipment many of the children need.

They also say pathways are uneven outside so wheelchairs cannot use the memorial garden facilities, and there is no space for quiet areas for children who are sensitive to noise.

Alex Harper, 18, added: “We see the excellent facilities of other schools and it’s so unfair.

“We have great staff and lots of potential to achieve, now we desperately need a new building.

“We just hope our voices will finally be listened to.”

Headteacher Eddy Jackson said: “We are very proud of our young people speaking up and leading change. The Government actively encouraged this but are now not listening. Highfurlong is seeking direct action to put this right.”