HUNDREDS have signed a petition urging the council to reconsider plans to cut ‘life-changing’ services at special schools.

Cheshire West and Chester Council is reportedly planning to withdraw funding for residential provision at four schools in the borough.

Residential offers children such as George Emerson, who is 15 and has autism, a chance to earn real-life experiences.

Now, his mother, Jennifer, launched a petition which has been signed more than 1,000 times in just three days.

“For my son and others, it will make the difference between whether they will require a lifetime of care in a supported facility or whether they can live independently in their own flat,” she said.

“It’s so short-sighted to make funding cuts for the most vulnerable children in your community.

“It might save some money now but down the line, it will mean that our children are putting more stress on social care and are a burden to a different budget.”

Northwich Guardian: George EmersonGeorge Emerson (Image: Supplied)

George began using the residential provision at Greenbank School in Hartford last September.

Neighbouring Cloughwood Academy, Hebden Green in Winsford, and Archers Brook in Ellesmere Port are the other schools which could be impacted by the cuts.

Before he began using these services, George had huge anxiety about going to school, had struggled to make friends, and depended on his family for most of his care.

Now he spends one night a week in a flat with two other children at the school and together they learn skills such as making hot drinks, basic cooking, shopping, and swimming.

Jennifer, 42, added: “For most of their school life they have been aware that they are different. Now he has become part of a community where he feels he belongs.

“It really is life-changing for a lot of the kids.

“The biggest point where I saw a change was one day I got up and George had made breakfast for me and his grandad.

“That was such a big thing. To have this child, who needs your support for all their daily needs, now be able to surprise you. Those small successes mean so much to us as families.”

Jennifer, a solicitor, says parents expect to receive official confirmation of the cuts by the end of March.

However, she believes the decision was made long ago and says there has been ‘radio silence’ from the council.

In Wesminster on Thursday (March 14), MP for Weaver Vale Mike Amesbury called for a debate on the adequacy of resources for special educational needs.

He said: "Proper funding for SEND is crucial but the Government is putting councils in an impossible situation by decimating the financial support they receive.

"I hope this matter can be resolved."

Leader of the House of Commons, Penny Mordaunt, responded, saying that she would raise Mr Amesbury's concerns with the Secretary of State for Education.

Cheshire West and Chester Council has been approached for comment.