Have Your Say

Have Your Say

At the public meeting in Tewkesbury, many people were keen to be able to send their objections and comments directly to County Councilors and other concerned parties and requested information on how to do so. On this page you will find links provided to various public representatives and public bodies that you may wish to contact. In most cases, the link will take you to another organisations website. We did originally consider placing direct email distribution lists within this page, but aside from potential technical and legal problems, some of this information is subject to frequent changes and so better obtained from the original source.

If you wish to send the same email to many people we would recommend one of the following approaches:

  • save the page of email addresses and create a distribution list within your address book, or better still a new address book.
  • first create the text of your email in Notepad and copy it into the clip board. From your browser click on the individual links and paste the text into the new message.

The first approach is faster if you intend to do this on a regular basis, the second has the advantage of appearing to be a personal communication rather than a mail shot.

Please do not be abusive in any correspondence. Although you may get some personal satisfaction from it, it is generally counter productive. We can win our case on the facts.

Local Political Involvement

The GSSPL have continually sought to maintain a politically neutral stance in this affair believing the issue to be above politics. Being parents of special needs children sets us aside from the mainstream of society, endowing us with a unique perspective that is irrespective and above any natural political bias. Our children are our priority, politics is a relatively minor consideration, though we quickly pick up the ability to recognise a genuine understanding and sympathetic ear.

There are links that can be attributed to social economic backgrounds demonstrating an increased likelihood of special needs support linked to poverty, in fact this forms a part of the budgetary calculations regarding funding support to schools for special needs. However the reality is that special needs itself shows no such distinction resulting in a very cosmopolitan group of individuals from every walk of life and every shade and colour of the political spectrum. Our political neutrality in fundamental as well as inherent.

In Gloucestershire the SEN Policy supposedly promoting inclusion that has lead to the closure of three special schools and has least three more in the cross hairs, is very much lead by influential members of the Labour & Liberal Democrat Groups. This flawed policy of forced inclusion and the removal of choice for parents is been driven from the very heart and leadership of these controlling coalition groups. It is unfortunate that the foundations were laid by a working party that hoodwinked the majority of the County Council into believing that parents of special needs children were in support of this brand of inclusion. It was only when they had to go public from the isolation of a select committee with their proposals that we parents became aware of their intentions and voiced for the first time our objections. By this time the die was almost cast and political reputation and credibility became more important to some that doing the right thing. We were faced with the task of getting some very stubborn and self opinionated individuals to change their minds.

The Conservative group on the County Council were first to break ranks and listen to parental concerns. They called into question some of the conclusions that had been drawn and were essential to the acceptability of the proposals. Because of Gloucestershire political history it quickly transcended into a hardening of positions to the detriment of the issue and any possibility of reason. Of course there are those who will take the opportunity to make political mileage from any issue and we have tried our level best to distance ourselves from such matters. We have welcomed support from those who have quinine understanding and sympathy from our stance and that support has come from all colours of the political spectrum. We have sought and taken every opportunity to address on equal terms all the political groups at a constituency level and have often found a complete reversal of opinion to the political leaders at a grass roots level. However, we are at a stalemate. There most recent local elections saw little change in the political make up of the County Council. Infact the change to cabinet style management has effectively stifled all meaningful opposition and has effectively seen us excluded from all processes.

In our view the majority of the conservative group have given us a genuine ear and have accepted our position. Jackie Hall, Brian Calway & Gordon Shurmer being especially consistent and notable. The Labour group at a grass roots level are fully supportive and at a national level have given more than clear statements that the Gloucestershire policy is not in tune with the national policy, however the local dominant leadership is sticking to its guns and is hostile even rude and antagonistic towards us. The Liberal Democrat group lost their best ambassador over this very issue when John Rawson who at the time was Chairman of the County Council resigned from his party because of their dogmatic approach to this issue. Other than that they are convinced they are doing the right thing, have steadfastly refused acknowledge let alone accept our right to an opinion. The Education spokesperson once said " I have heard the opposition but must stick to my gut instinct" In other words, I think my view is the more important consideration.

Where do our MPs stand on this issue





Diana Organ


Forest of Dean

Pro Special Schools

Lawrence Robertson



Pro Special Schools

David Drew



Pro some Special Schools, but not for MLD pupils

Nigel Jones

Lib Dem


Fence Sitter

Parmjit Dhanda



Fence Sitter

Jeffrey Clinton Brown



Pro Special Schools

County Councillors

Follow this link to an alphabetical list of of all the county councilors. For each member, you will find a postal address, the area and party they represent. Where available, there are also telephone and fax numbers, and a mailto link to their email address. At the notorious Council Meeting in July, all members of the Liberal Democrat and Labour Groups present voted for closing Bownham Park School.

Please note that the composition of the County Council changed significantly at the Elections in June 2001. The most notable change was that Liberal Democrat Education Spokesperson and architect of the SEN Development Plan, John Morris, lost his seat. We are not shedding any tears over this and in fact pleased with the part we played in his downfall.

Gloucestershire County Council

There are a number of avenues for communicating your views to the County Council. They have a service for receiving questions, complaints and even compliments. Currently this page seems to be mysteriously unavailable, but at this time major changes are being made to reflect the new cabinet structure.

You could also table Questions to Council Committee Meetings, but we are not sure what the procedure is with the new Cabinet System. If you did this you can attend and ask your question in person, but don't be surprised if the answer fails to address any of the points in the question.

The e-mail addresses of individual officers are not normally published by theirown departments, but the Press Department often put them on the end of Press Releases. The generic e-mail for the education department is educ@gloscc.gov.uk most individual e-mail addresses seem to be in the form shuggett@gloscc.gov.uk.

Members of Parliament

Cheltenham: Nigel Jones (Liberal Democrat)

Constituency Address: 16 Hewlett Road, Cheltenham, GL52 6AA
Tel: 01242 224889
Fax: 01242 256658
Email: nigeljonesmp@cix.co.uk
Web: http://www.nigeljones.org.uk/
Parliamentary Address: House of Commons, London SW1 OAA
Tel: 0207 219 3000

Cotswold: Geoffrey Clifton-Brown (Conservative)

Constituency Address: 7 Rodney Road, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, GL50 1HX
Tel: 01242 514551
Fax: 01252 514949
Email: hayward@cotswold.tory.org.uk
Web: http://www.cotswoldconservative.co.uk
Parliamentary Address: House of Commons, London SW1 OAA
Tel: 0207 219 3000

Forest of Dean: Diana Organ (Labour)

Constituency Address: Belle Vue Centre, Belle Vue Road, Cinderford, GL14 2AB
Tel: 01594 826835
Fax: 01594 827892
Email: lapington@parliament.uk or robinsonj@parliament.uk
Parliamentary Address: House of Commons, London SW1 OAA
Tel: 0207 219 3000

Gloucester: Parmjit Dhanda (Labour)

Constituency Address: PO Box 18, Gloucester, GL1 3YR
Tel: 01452 311870
Fax: 01452 311873
Parliamentary Address: House of Commons, London SW1 OAA
Tel: 0207 219 3000

Stroud: David Drew (Labour)

Constituency Address: 5a Lansdown, Stroud, Gloucestershire, GL5 1BB
Tel: 01453 764355
Fax: 01453 753756
Email: daviddrew@mpstroud.freeserve.co.uk
Web: http://www.daviddrew.ik.org/
Parliamentary Address: House of Commons, London SW1 OAA
Tel: 0207 219 3000

Tewkesbury: Laurence Robertson (Conservative)

Constituency Address: Tewkesbury Conservative Association, Lloyds Bank Chambers, Abbey Terrace, Winchcombe, Nr. Cheltenham, Gloucestershire
Tel: 01242 609021
Fax: 01242 603428
Email: tewkconser@aol.com
Parliamentary Address: House of Commons, London SW1 OAA
Tel: 0207 219 3000

Lawrence Robertson has been extremely active in raising this issue both in the House of Commons and with Government Ministers. Diana Organ has issued one of the most damning condemnations (listen to it on our other views page) of not only what the council is doing, but also the damage it has done in the past few years and Geoffrey Clifton-Brown and David Drew have also been critical of the plans. As you can see from this support from both sides of the House of Commons, THIS IS NOT A PARTY POLITICAL ISSUE EXCEPT IN THE COUNCIL CHAMBER AT SHIRE HALL.

Government Ministers

Secretary of State for Education and Skills
Rt. Hon. Charles Clarke MP

For the latest members of the Education and Skills team, click on the link above.

Local Newspapers

The local newspapers have been extremely supportive throughout this campaign and are usually pleased to receive and publish letters on this subject. You can improve your chances of getting a letter published if it is saying something new or is topical and you keep it short ( under 200 words). It is important that you include you address and a telephone number even if you request that your address is not published. Click on the logos below to email letters to the editor, use the link above for the ThisisGloucestershire website.


Ofsted conducted an audit of Gloucestershire LEA in the second half of 2001. If you are interested in how the LEA runs its services, the report should be available early in 2002.

You will also find most of the recent inspection reports on Gloucestershire Schools. Of particular interest is the report on Bownham Park School, conducted in the week following the announcement that the school would close. Despite the difficult circumstances of the inspection the school received a very good report.


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