Epping's MP has expressed her surprise after a special needs announced plans close early on Friday's claiming a lack of funding had forced its hand.

Oak View School in Loughton says its can no longer afford to open for a full five-day school week.

From January 2021 the school, which is a specialist provision school for pupils with special educational needs, will close at 1pm every Friday.

MP Dame Eleanor Laing said: "Oakview School is a vitally important part of our local community and it does a marvellous job looking after children with special needs. It is important that the facts are reported correctly. The funding that the Government gives to Essex County Council for special needs education has not been cut. Actually, it has been increased this year.

"I am surprised that the decision to change the hours that Oakview operates has been taken without consulting parents. Families have to plan carefully the way in which they look after children with special needs, so it is all the more important to involve them in any discussion about the school timetable."

Read more: Parents react with fury to plans for Oak View School to close early on Fridays

Ms Laing is set to meet with school management and Essex County Council today to discuss the issue.

Headteacher Tina Kearney, said the move had not been made lightly but was born "out of necessity".

Independent Loughton councillor Stephen Murray said he was "really angry" at the news.

"Quite understandably parents and guardians are furious that government funding cuts will force the special needs school attended by their children to close early on Fridays", he said.

"The parents , guardians and pupils from across the district will have my full support in trying to reverse this decision.

"I also sympathise with the school leadership and school governors who have been forced in to making this decision."

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