DESPERATE parents say their children’s lives are in danger after education bosses slashed staff numbers at two Additional Support Needs schools.

The Herald can reveal that North Ayrshire Council has redeployed staff from Haysholm and James McFarlane schools and told parents their children will no longer get one-toone care, regardless of the child’s needs.

With less than two weeks to go until pupils return to school, frantic parents say education bosses at North Ayrshire Council are putting their kids at risk in a bid to save cash.

Penny Moore’s nineyear-old daughter Lucy suffers from epilepsy and can’t speak, walk, talk and is blind. She is a pupil at James McFarlane School and Penny also fears a child could die because of the cuts.

She said: “I’m angry at the fact that the council have made this decision without any real knowledge of what the needs of our kids are.

“Our kids are vulnerable and most of them needs someone with them at all times. Some of them need two adults to one child.

“If something serious was to happen and there isn’t enough staff there to deal with it you are talking about a child’s life. I am not being dramatic when I say that. This is how serious this situation is.

“My daughter has a life shortening condition and I just can’t risk something happening t o her at school.”

Kate Fisher’s eight-yearold son Kyle is a pupil at Haysholm. Kyle has cerebral palsy, autism, is non oral, non-mobile, PEG fed and doubly incontinent. The Lawthorn mum says his class previously had five teaching staff for six severely disabled children. When the new term starts there will be three staff for the class of six kids, following the cuts.

She said: “The staff at Haysholm are wonderful, I can’t say enough good things about them, but they are only human and if two of them are toileting with one child that leaves just one member of staff with the other five children who all have severe disabilities and difficulties.

“What if one of them takes a seizure and there is only one teacher in the room with them? It is just not acceptable.

“They are putting our children’s lives at risk. Kate says she will pull Kyle out of school if something is not done to increase staff numbers.

She said: “They don’t realise the impact these staff cuts will have on our children.

“Kyle can be supported to do certain things independently, but he needs someone with him.

“He can’t be left alone. He is totally reliant on someone being there to meet his needs at all times.

“They are saying no more one-to-one which is appalling. Some of these children actually need twoto-one care.

“I just can’t understand this decision at all and if I don’t think my child is going to be safe at school then he simply won’t be going.”

Irvine mum Stacy Dickson’s six-year-old son Dylan is also a pupil at Haysholm.

She said: “There will be six pupils in the class but only three teaching staff. That is just not enough.

“Some of the kids can become aggressive and violent and I know my Dylan is a handful.

“There is just no way that three of them will be able to cope with six children. I can’t believe they are even thinking about this.”

A North Ayrshire Council spokesperson said: “We would like to reassure parents/carers that the wellbeing of our young people is an absolute priority when staffing decisions are made ac ross our establishments.

“Education staff met with all the head teachers at our ASN schools and bases at the end of the last session to discuss the current set-up and appropriate staffing allocation for the next session.

“The head teacher s provided comprehensive information and all decisions took into account the needs of individual pupils and the number of class groups.

“This exercise is done every session and staff move from school to school every session, across mainst ream and ASN. No member of staff has been made redundant.

“We would ask any concerned parent/carer to please get in touch and we can discuss things in more detail.”