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Mother's fears over future of The Link referral service

Fears have been raised about the future of a facility which provides education for children who would otherwise not be in a suitable school setting.

The Link is a referral service based at Manor Green School, in Elizabeth Hawkes Way, that gives specialist education and therapy for children aged two to 19.

Children who are referred to The Link will have either been excluded or do not have their needs met in relation to their behaviour, emotional and social difficulties or feelings of disaffection. It aims to provide children with the appropriate support and if possible see them return to mainstream schooling.

A worried mum whose son is at The Link said she has been told that the facility could close in five weeks. The woman, who did not wish to be named, said that she has already started looking for alternative provision for September.

Speaking about the service, she said: “Within the first two weeks I noticed the difference.

“When he was at his old school he used to cry in the morning but right from the start at The Link he loved going there.”

The Link is run by Achieving for Children, which manages child services for the Royal Borough.

When asked about the future of the service, a spokesman for AFC said: “Unfortunately, we are not in a position to comment at this stage due to being in a formal tender process.”

Manor Green headteacher Joolz Scarlett also said she could not comment given formal agreements regarding communication during the tendering process.

A tender process is a procurement exercise and offers other agencies the opportunity to bid for a service. This does include the current agencies.

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