Families spoke out after Glasgow City Council announced plans to either merge, close or relocate five special schools for children with physical impairments and learning difficulties.

Under the proposals, to be discussed at a meeting of the council’s executive committee today, Richmond Park School, on the city’s south side, would be merged with Kelbourne School, in the west end.

However, Karen Glen, chair of the parent council of Richmond Park, said it would be “totally inappropriate” to move the 22 pupils there across the city.

Mrs Glen, whose 11-year-old daughter has cerebral palsy, believes the level of care at Richmond Park – and the purpose-built facilities – will not easily be replicated. She also believes the move itself will be disruptive.

“The view of the parent council is that it would be a travesty if the school as we know it disappears,” she said.

“Richmond Park is a purpose-built facility that offers a fantastic quality of education, and to lose that would be a massive concern.

“We will be raising these issues with the council and hope we can persuade them that the proposal should be changed.”

Veronica Mullen, treasurer of the parent council, whose daughter Niamh, eight, attends Richmond Park, also spoke out against the changes.

She said: “The school was built to cater for children with physical impairments and learning difficulties and, therefore, we believe it is much better-suited than the alternative.”

She added: “We are not ­telling our children about what is happening yet because they have a limited understanding and get very anxious.

“My daughter has been there two years and has only just got settled and if the merger goes ahead I don’t think she would be able to cope with more upheaval.”

However, Jonathan Findlay, the council’s executive member for education, says the merger will benefit the education of the children involved.

“I want to reassure parents that our aim is to bring together expertise from each school to ensure we have the best learning and teaching environment for every child, whatever their needs,” he said.

“The proposal would ensure that more resources would be put into children’s learning in the merged school, bringing together the staff expertise and experience at both establishments.

“I will meet with any parents who want to discuss the proposals and would encourage all interested parties to take part in the consultation process if this is agreed.”

Earlier this week, The Herald revealed the results of the council’s review of education for children with physical disabilities and learning difficulties, which will affect some 150 children.

In addition to the merger between Kelbourne and Richmond Park, the plans, which will be subject to a six-week consultation with families, will see Hampden School, near Hampden Park, moved into the former Richmond building.

In addition, Greenview School, to the north of the city, would then be relocated to the empty Hampden School, while Nerston Residential School, near East Kilbride, would be sold off and the pupils moved to Greenview.

The council has estimated that the proposals, which affect five of the city’s 46 special schools or units, would save nearly £1m, but the council said money would be reinvested to improve the fabric and facilities of the remaining schools.

There will also be a reduction in the number of teaching staff required, but officials said there would be no compulsory redundancies. Instead, the council will look for staff willing to take early retirement.

A report on the proposals by Mr Findlay, which will go to today’s executive committee, highlights some of the concerns the council has over the current provision.

“The poor-quality accommodation and the small numbers attending limits the opportunities to extend children’s learning and give them access to the widest possible curriculum, for example PE and sports facilities, science labs, technology and home economics rooms.”

The report said that falling rolls had been evident, partly because of a declining birthrate in Glasgow, but also because of the policy of inclusion – placing children with additional support needs in mainstream primaries and secondaries, rather than special schools.

All children who attend the schools will continue to receive free transport and the council will also carry out an analysis of where children live in relation to the new schools to make the travel arrangements as efficient as possible.

Public meetings will be held in each of the schools buildings in order that those in attendance can view the premises.

Andrew Denholm, Education Correspondent