PARENTS gathered outside a council meeting to protest against the government’s controversial Safety Valve programme.

Joining would ‘fail our children’ and would have ‘real consequences’ for education across the conurbation, parents said.

As reported, BCP Council was invited to join the scheme to cut its estimated £63m education deficit, however, it involves sweeping reforms and strict cost-saving measures.

It has been met with opposition from parents, teachers and campaigners, with one head teacher saying that schools would be asked ‘to do more with less funding’.

Read more on the Safety Valve programme:

The demonstration saw around 40 people gather outside the Bournemouth Civic Centre annexe, ahead of a meeting of the Children’s Services Overview and Scrutiny committee.

Zoe Davies is a parent of three children all in specialist placements with education, health and care plans (EHCPs).

Bournemouth Echo: Zoe Davies (left) has three children in specialist placements.

“This affects them massively,” Zoe said.

“It’s less funding. They’re already under-resourced so where does that leave them?

“My daughter, the eldest one is quite complex so she needs bespoke packages – they’re not cheap but she couldn’t do a mainstream college, absolutely no way.

“It has a huge impact and it means that the possibility is she won’t get a place because of that.”

Lexi Cox is a parent governor at her son’s school, who has special educational needs.

Bournemouth Echo: Lexi Cox (right) is a parent governor at her son's school.

“They’re on about cutting budgets which is going to fail our children,” she said.

“At the end of the day, this is our children’s lives and our children’s futures. This is not a luxury that we’re fighting for, this is basic provision for their needs.

“Schools themselves are already struggling, I’m a parent governor of my son’s school, it’s hard for everyone so we’re here to support the voice of the parents, the schools.

“We’re working together to try and do better for our schools and our children.”

Bournemouth Echo: Protest organiser Rachel Filmer

Organiser Rachel Filmer, from BCP Alliance for Children and Schools, said it was ‘amazing’ to see so many people come for the protest.

“I think everyone is extremely worried about what’s going to happen, and there are real consequences for everybody here based on what happens next,” Rachel said.

“That’s why everyone’s come out today, we just hope that we get some more information on what is coming and hopefully the chance to share our views through a consultation.”