‘Our kids will suffer’, says mum

A Limavady mum campaigning to keep a special needs unit in Derry open says if the unit closes “our kids will suffer”.

Leanne Moore is furious after news from Education Minister John O’Dowd that Woodlands speech and language unit will close by September 2014. Following the closure, pupils will be placed at units based at three primary schools, Ebrington, St Anne’s and Ballykelly.

Leanne says when her eldest child Oran McCawille attended Woodlands, the transformation in his development, within six weeks, was unbelievable. She says Oran is now thriving, academically and socially, at Termoncanice PS, in Limavady.

However, she says her daughter Erin, aged two, needs speech and language therapy and she wants Woodlands to be there for her.

“If Woodlands isn’t there, and she has to go into a mainstream class, my fear is her development will be hindered, not just academically but socially too,” says Leanne. “The minister’s decision doesn’t make sense.”

Leanne attended Limavady Council meeting on Tuesday, when the issue was raised by SDLP Colr. Orla Beattie. The majority of members agreed Council should write to the minister asking him to re-consider the Woodlands decision.

“I can’t see why the Minister will close a speech and language unit that’s been so successful in favour of opening new units which will result in considerable expense,” said Colr. Beattie.