‘It’s horrific to hear the news’ – Meldreth Manor School could be set for closure

Meldreth Manor School

Meldreth Manor School - Credit: Archant

A special school and children’s home for disabled children in Meldreth is likely to close its doors next March due to falling student numbers.

Meldreth Manor School in Fenny Lane is run by disability charity Scope, and the board of trustees have proposed to close the school after it has continued to run at a substantial loss in the recent past.

James Watson-O’Neill, director of services at Scope, said: “This is a very difficult proposal for us to make and we know that this will be an anxious time for students, residents, families and staff.

“Student and resident numbers have been falling in recent years, and we will have just nine residential students at Meldreth Manor and eight young adults living at Orchard Manor – which offers a transition to adult services – from September 2015.”

The loss of money is also due to the fact that local authorities are increasingly moving away from placing disabled children in independent schools, opting for services closer to home instead.

James added: “This has had a significant impact on finances, which have been running at a substantial loss.

“We are unable to continue to lose money running the school and the transition service.”

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Mark Coningsby from Royston and District Motorcycle Club, which regularly raises funds for the school, said: “Meldreth Manor School has been at the heart of the Meldreth community for decades. Everyone connected will be heartbroken at the proposed closure.

“Having met the children and the adults at both Orchard House and Meldreth Manner, it is horrific for us to hear the news.”

A consultation period for people to share their views on the closure will run from now until September 17.

James said: “The board will seriously consider any alternative proposals that address the services’ financial position.”

People should direct all feedback to project manager Kathryn Jefford on consultation.meldreth@scope.org.uk or by calling 07788 898083.