A petition which aims to force a rethink on the planned closure of a specialist hydrotherapy pool at a Sheffield special needs school has reached almost 500 signatures.
Parents at Seven Hills School, in Granville Road, in the grounds of All Saints’ Catholic High School, have been told that the school now intends to convert the area into a specialist therapeutic leisure space for students.
The school has said that the pool, which is only five years old, is no longer financially viable due to council funding cuts - despite the Shoals Swim School, which uses the facility, offering to make up the cash shortfall.
The move could leave up to 400 youngsters with nowhere to have swimming lessons - as the move will leave Shoals without a full-time base.
Parent Lisa Siddall, 38, from Woodhouse, who takes her six-year-old son Luka to Shoals, has launched the petition.
She said: “It’s overwhelming to know that so many people care about this and are affected by it, and maybe thought there was nothing they could do.
“This just gives us a bit of hope and to keep going with our fight. I will keep going until there’s nowhere else to go with it.
“The Shoals staff make learning to swim so enjoyable and fun - Luca has progressed so much in the time he’s been with them.”
Headteacher at the council-run school Clive Rockliffe said: “Despite private lettings over the last few years, the pool continues to run at a net loss which has to be financed from our school’s budget.If we continued on this course we would be faced with the prospect of closing the pool without the possibility of developing it into a more usable space.
“We carefully considered using the services of third party operator to make the pool self-financing but to achieve this would have meant largely excluding our students, all of who have learning and physical disabilities, and this was unacceptable.
“We do not have a gym or large indoor space for PE or other physical activities. As we have money set aside for a modest redevelopment, we intend to convert it into a suite of therapeutic and physical development spaces including a smaller, more cost-effective hydrotherapy pool, rebound therapy facilities and other sensory provision.”
The petition is set to be presented to a full meeting of Sheffield City Council on Wednesday, June 6 at Sheffield Town Hall.
To sign the petition go to https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/save-sevenhills-swimming-pool?source=facebook-share-button&time=1527442590