PARENTS have handed in a petition urging the council to save a 'vital' service.

Cheshire West and Chester Council is considering withdrawing funding for residential services at four special schools in the county – Greenbank, Hebden Green, Archers Brook and Cloughwood Academy.

In little over a week, more than 1,500 signed a petition started by Jennifer Emerson, whose son George uses the service at Greenbank.

On Wednesday, she handed a list of the signatures to the council.

Among those to have signed their names was Paula Watson, mother of a former Greenbank pupil.

“This needs saving as it’s a vital service for these youngsters to gain confidence and learn skills for their independence,” she said.

Stephanie Perrin, parent of a current pupil, said: “My son sleeps here every Monday, it gets him out of the house and gives him the opportunity to socialise in a safe place. Going to Greenbank School has changed his life.”

READ MORE: Mum launches petition to save 'life-changing' services at special schools

Northwich Guardian: Greenbank School in Hartford is one of four that may be affectedGreenbank School in Hartford is one of four that may be affected (Image: Cheshire Police)

Another supporter is Julia Williams who said: “It’s beyond cruel to withdraw a facility that provides crucial impacts to parents, carers, siblings and the young person with SEN, all of whom benefit in ways that once withdrawn will create severe negative consequences and impact the demands of other social service functions.”

Residentials offer children with special educational needs the chance to earn real-life experience.

They spend nights in a flat with their peers learning skills such as cooking, shopping and swimming.

ALSO READ: No decision yet as 'funding squeeze' forces council to consider residential service

Cllr Adam Langan, CWAC cabinet member for children and young people, says that no decision on withdrawing funding has yet been made.

"The council has recently started an engagement exercise with special schools that offer a residential service and the families who use it,” he said.

“I know from talking to parents how important this service is to them, and want to emphasise that no decision has been taken to withdraw it.

"The residential service is used in some schools more than others. Given the ongoing Government funding squeeze on the ability of councils like Cheshire West to offer SEND services, we have to make funding go further than ever.

"The review does not relate to special school provision, and no special schools will be closed.”

It is understood that Jennifer will be speaking at the Cheshire West and Chester Council meeting on May 16 at Wyvern House.