School Run Crisis campaign update
Wednesday 10th July 2019
Plans to remove school transport for youngsters with special educational needs and disabilities in Leicestershire have been paused by Leicestershire County Council, it was announced last week.
Contact submitted evidence to a judicial review held in April, when local Leicestershire parent Stefan Drexler acted for his 16 year old daughter Kristine to challenge the council's decision to replace traditional transport arrangements - taxis and minibuses - with a personal travel budget for youngsters aged between 16 and 18.
We are still awaiting a final decision on this case, but in the meantime the council announced its decision to put their proposed changes on hold for a year. This means that while the council's offer of personal transport budgets still stand, parents can apply for traditional forms of transport as they have in the past.
What do we think?
While this is a welcome move, it still leaves uncertainty for the parents in the future. We are hearing from more and more families up and down the country that disabled youngsters are being refused or charged for school transport because of the loophole in the law which means that although a young person is expected to be in school or training until they are 18, they don't have the right to transport to enable them to get there once they turn 16.
Disabled children are more likely to travel further to school or college and, unlike their non-disabled peers, many can't use public transport when they turn 16. This results in parents having to give up or reduce hours of work and disabled youngsters not completing their education or training or being offered unsuitable alternatives like travel training when it is not always appropriate and could put them at risk.
It shouldn't be like this, and we have campaigned on this issue since our school transport inquiry two years ago. It's time the government took action and closed the loophole in the law for good.
Act now if you have received a letter about changes to your school transport
School transport is a top concern for the families we support - especially over the summer as it's when many local authorities make decisions on school transport eligibility for September.
We want to remind parents that you have the right of appeal if you are not happy with the decision made but it's important to act now.
There is lots of information on our website including our online advice on home to school transport.