Croydon Council to ask questions over special needs school transport

Pupils with special educational needs (SEN) will be asked to travel to school independently despite less than one in five parents consulted approving of the council’s proposals.

Nearly 1,000 Croydon SEN pupils qualify for supported transport to school at a cost of £6.2 million a year, but plans expected to be approved on April 17 would see many asked to travel to school independently.

A consultation document distributed to 307 parents saw only 55 say they approved of the change, 18 per cent, while 142 were not in favour.

The council predicts the change will save more than £500,000 by 2014/15.

Councillor Kathy Bee, shadow cabinet member for education, said: "There is not a lot of honest in them saying the motivation for this is doing better things for children by increasing independence when actually it is motivated by money."

SEN pupils in the borough currently are provided door to door transport to get to school.

The changes would see the council determine the level of assistance available to pupils and offer a range of options including training to travel to school by public transport, though door to door would still be available for those with significant travel needs.

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There will also be the opportunity for parents to take up to take up personal travel budgets for their children, receiving a 60p per mile allowance with given the option of how it is used.

Councillor Tim Pollard, cabinet member for children, young people and learners, said: "There will be many children with special educational needs who continue to need door-to-door transport.

"But these new options give more choice and the potential for greater independence.

"We‘ve already heard from parents in the pilot scheme that there can be some real advantages from these alternatives.

"Our trials have shown that many parents who adopt them, prefer them."

Comments (2)

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8:17am Thu 19 Apr 12

sassywright1718 says...

I was on transport i think every should be able to get to school by trasport some people can't take their children to school have to get to work on time. And they maybe have more that one or two children. So i think is fair people they can't get their should use the car. Some people live fair from the school so they need trasprot.
I was on transport i think every should be able to get to school by trasport some people can't take their children to school have to get to work on time. And they maybe have more that one or two children. So i think is fair people they can't get their should use the car. Some people live fair from the school so they need trasprot. sassywright1718
  • Score: 0

5:30pm Thu 19 Apr 12

Jackie57 says...

How short sighted are the council? No parent of a child with SEN wants to send their child miles away to a special school that will help them access the National Curriculum and equip them with learning strategies to try to give these children the possibility of a semi independent life as an adult. If these children cannot access the right type of education then they are destined to a life on benefits and they (and their families) do not want to be in that situation. Every parent hopes that by secondary level their children are independent enough to go to and from school by themselves and most of them are able to walk to their local secondary schools - these children cannot do that as support is not there for them to access the curriculum. Is the council going to change the funding in local schools like Archbishop Tennison in order to accommodate SEN children with complex learning difficulties so that they can save £500,000 and fulfil this remit of 'independent travel'? Will they put SALT teachers in every local state secondary school in Croydon to help these SEN kids learn and intergrate into the school environment? I can't see that happening - but many parents cannot physically take their SEN children on a journey over 3 miles twice a day, 5 days a week for 39 weeks of the year for the seven years of secondary education and therefore these children will not be going to specialist education schools they will go to the local state school and drain the school's resources and money in order for them to be supported in school! How much is that going to cost the council in the long term? How much is it going to cost our SEN children - the rest of their adult lives on benefit and no hope! don't be so short sighted Croydon Council.
How short sighted are the council? No parent of a child with SEN wants to send their child miles away to a special school that will help them access the National Curriculum and equip them with learning strategies to try to give these children the possibility of a semi independent life as an adult. If these children cannot access the right type of education then they are destined to a life on benefits and they (and their families) do not want to be in that situation. Every parent hopes that by secondary level their children are independent enough to go to and from school by themselves and most of them are able to walk to their local secondary schools - these children cannot do that as support is not there for them to access the curriculum. Is the council going to change the funding in local schools like Archbishop Tennison in order to accommodate SEN children with complex learning difficulties so that they can save £500,000 and fulfil this remit of 'independent travel'? Will they put SALT teachers in every local state secondary school in Croydon to help these SEN kids learn and intergrate into the school environment? I can't see that happening - but many parents cannot physically take their SEN children on a journey over 3 miles twice a day, 5 days a week for 39 weeks of the year for the seven years of secondary education and therefore these children will not be going to specialist education schools they will go to the local state school and drain the school's resources and money in order for them to be supported in school! How much is that going to cost the council in the long term? How much is it going to cost our SEN children - the rest of their adult lives on benefit and no hope! don't be so short sighted Croydon Council. Jackie57
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