UNCERTAINTY over Wiltshire's special schools were heard on the floor of the Houses of Common tonight as MP for south west Wiltshire Andrew Murrison tabled a debate.

Dr Murrison secured the debate after voicing concerns about Wiltshire Council's proposal to close three special school and build one Centre of Excellence on Rowde, near Devizes.

He said: "I very much commend the council for being prepared to spend serious money on improving special needs provision in the county.

"However, I am amazed that it wants to close Larkrisewhich is rated Good by OFSTED. My vulnerable young constituents and their families want the money spent on Larkrise rather than on a new mega school miles from home. I strongly urge the council to think again and I hope the minister will help."

MP for Chippenham, Michelle Donelan said: "I am very concerned about the proposed closure of St Nicholas School and Larkrise. Chippenham is growing meaning there is now more need than ever for a special school based in our town. The closures will mean much longer journey times for children which will put such an unbearable strain on the children and their families.

"All our children deserve to have the best start in life with good educations and we must ensure that this includes excellent facilities. I do appreciate that currently St Nicholas School does not have the space to expand to cater for the increase in demand but the answer is therefore to move the school to a new premise in Chippenham - not to close it. The decision is short sighted given the housing development taking place and planned for Chippenham.

"The closure of both schools would be cruel on the current children many of whom have severe disabilities and will now have to endure long distressing travel times before their school day even begins."

As Chippenham parents plan a demonstration on March 23 in the town to voice their concerns about a proposal to close St Nicholas School, Wiltshire Council has published a job advert to oversee the changes.

With a salary of between £59,120 - £65,176 the role of Head of Special School Transformation is being advertised on the council website.

A Wiltshire Council spokesman said: “We are grateful to everyone who took part in our consultation on proposals to invest £20m into special needs education in Wiltshire. We had more than 2,400 responses on how we can best meet increasing demand for places and to ensure our pupils have access to a first class education. We welcome the wide range of views expressed and we want to continue working with families and all those involved as we move forward with our planning for future provision.

“We are funding a dedicated post to lead the proposals to invest £20m into special education for Wiltshire. Whatever the outcome of the consultation, this post will focus on ensuring we meet the need for an additional 220 places for SEND education into the future.”

Watch the debate live on the BBC Iplayer Parliamentary channel.