Contact responds to Leicestershire Council’s decision on SEN transport
Friday 9th March 2018
Today Leicestershire County Council approved changes to its special educational needs (SEN) school transport service.
The changes, which will take place from September 2019, include charging for post-16 SEN and under 5s school transport and stopping council-arranged taxi and minibus provision for post-16 SEN students.
Responding to the council's decision, Contact's head of campaigns, Una Summerson, said:
"We are disappointed that the council has voted to cut free school transport for some disabled children and young people, which means they are now unfairly disadvantaged.
"While we recognise that the council has made this difficult decision due to budget pressures, we don't believe the solution is to pass this pressure onto vulnerable families already facing significant extra costs and challenges associated with caring for a disabled young person.
"We are really concerned that more and more disabled children across England are being refused school transport or charged for it, as councils exploit what we think is a loophole in the law. How can it be fair that the law says a disabled young person is expected to be in school or training until 18 but does not have the transport to get there once they turn 16?
"That's why we are calling on the government to plug the gap in school transport policy for disabled 16 and 17 year olds to stop councils doing this."
Tune into see Una talking about Leicestershire County Council's decision to cut post-16 SEN transport on BBC East Midlands TV news this evening at 18:30.
We know school transport is a big concern for many UK families with disabled children. The lack of school transport by local authorities to disabled young people over the age of 16 is just one of the many issues we heard from families about when we carried out our School Transport Inquiry last year. Read the report and desktop research we launched on BBC Radio 5Live Investigates, which brings together evidence from more than 2,500 parents.
Seen a cut or change to school transport post 16? We'd like to hear from you.
We want to focus on the lack of school transport offered by local authorities to disabled young people over the age of 16. It's a legal loop hole that means local authorities are under no obligation to provide school transport to this group of young people - even though the law requires them to be in education until they are 18 years of age.
If this is something you've been affected by and you are interested in sharing your story then please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org