12th September 2017
The Secretary of State for Education has announced plans to review school transport statutory guidance to make sure all local authorities are providing school transport for children with SEN.
The decision has been made as a result of findings from Contact’s School Transport Inquiry.
The report, published on Radio 5 Live Investigates, brings together evidence the Contact gathered from more than 2,500 parents.
As part of its investigation, Contact discovered:
- 51% of local school transport policies in England include unlawful statements.
- 48%, mostly mums, said that school travel arrangements for their disabled child meant that they can’t work or have had to decrease working hours.
- 23% said their child’s journey to school is stressful, which makes it harder for their child to learn.
A Department for Education spokesperson said, ‘We are investing £222m over four years to help local authorities improve special educational needs and disability (SEND) services and local authorities must provide school transport for all eligible children with SEND.
‘In light of the findings by Contact, the Department will review the statutory guidance for local authorities to ensure it is clear.’
Writing on the Department of Education’s Blog, a spokesperson said, ‘We are clear that local authorities must make transport arrangements for all children who cannot reasonably be expected to walk to school because of their mobility problems or because of associated health and safety issues related to their special educational needs or disability. We expect councils to put appropriate arrangements in place and make decisions that are best suited to local circumstances.’
School transport for children with SEN
In May, My Family, Our Needs heard from Leanna Forse and how she had to give up her job due to issues with her son Billy’s school transport.
Following on from that, Nabil Dance explored a council’s duty to provide school transport and how to go about appealing a school transport decision, if your request has been rejected.
For those applying for school transport, Nabil recommends that you:
- take a pragmatic approach to your request
- Make sure it is based on evidence.
- Make sure you get as much evidence as you can to back up your request.
- Give the local authority as much as you can to help it make its decision.
Amanda Batten, Chief Executive of Contact, said, ‘This is a huge win for all of us, and we want to say a massive thank you to everyone who submitted evidence to the inquiry. We will work with you when the statutory guidance is reviewed to make sure disabled children get the school transport they need.’