PARENTS say they feel angry and betrayed after Wiltshire Council published papers outlining its plan to close three special schools following weeks of further consultation despite their pleas not to.

15 options were looked into as part of the updated consultation, opened following a legal challenge by parents from Larkrise and St Nicholas’ special schools.

Wiltshire Council published 600 pages outlining its work to explore how to create 220 extra school places for children with special educational needs.

The council's updated proposal includes introducing a single leadership team for all three schools from September 2021 and eventually closing the schools, with a replacement centre of excellence built on Rowdeford's site.

The school would be maintained within the local authority instead of becoming an academy, as originally planned.

It says that 45 per cent of people responding to an online consultation agreed that the one school option, to be built on the Rowdeford site, was the best option.

But parents from St Nicholas in Chippenham and Larkrise in Trowbridge say their suggestions to expand existing sites have fallen on deaf ears.

Melissa Loveday’s son Noah, five, goes to St Nicholas school in Chippenham.

She has criticised for the council for not including two petition with thousands of signatures supporting the campaign the Keep Special Schools Local.

She said: “I feel really let down. They sat with us and told us that our plan was one of the most viable options put forward to them. And then they stabbed us in the back and went with their original plan anyway. Noah has his whole life ahead of him and he will pay the price for Wiltshire Council’s experiment.”

Clare Carter’s daughter Tilly attend St Nicholas School. She said: “The first meeting I went to it seemed like they were still keen to push the one school option but after a few meetings they really did seem to be listening.

“We felt like we were able to give our thoughts and ideas and that they were listening but now it feels like a step backwards. We will be seeking legal advice now and I hope to attend the meeting on Wednesday to protest. We are in this for the long haul.”

Terence Herbert, executive director for children and education, said: “We need to ensure we are providing our children and young people with special needs with the very best education in an environment where they can thrive.

“We know parents are passionate about their children’s future and so are we. We are grateful to everyone who took part in this consultation and helped us to determine the way forward. Should these proposals be agreed we are committing major investment and we will want to work closely with all parents as we continue to provide a first-class education for all children into the future.”

Protests are planned outside of County Hall from 9am on Wednesday (May 22) ahead of a cabinet meeting that will decide whether the schools will be closed and replaced with one in Rowde.

Parents say they intend to seek legal advice on any decision made.