"School transport is the straw that breaks the camel's back" - A report from our parliamentary hearing
Thursday 9th March 2017
Last month we launched a school transport inquiry to find out what the situation is across the country for families with disabled children.
As part of the inquiry, this week we held a parliamentary hearing at the House of Commons, chaired by Caroline Ansell, MP for Eastbourne.
Bringing together parents, providers and policy makers
The session heard from two mums and a dad, the National Network of Parent Carers Forums, the school transport provider HCT group, a local council and the University of Leeds about their research into local school transport policies. Jill Davies, manager on our freephone helpline team, gave evidence about the calls to our helpline and the law.
Leanna Forse, mum to 16 year old Billy, who has a rare chromosome disorder, said: "When Billy turned 16 I was told that he would not get school transport anymore, even though he is at the same school. I appealed the decision, which was refused, so I took it to the local government ombudsman who agreed with me, but they referred back to the council who used the same councillors who again said no. It is essential that Billy goes to college, he has therapies there which are helping him progress."
The fight starts again with school transport
Paul Meadows, dad to Connor, aged 10, who has ASD and ADHD, said: "I run a support group for dads with disabled children and the issue of school transport is often the straw that breaks the camel's back. Families fight to get their child into school and think they've won the battle. Then realise they have to fight all over again for transport."
Caroline Ansell MP, who is a mum of a disabled child, said : "I am passionate that every child has access to high quality education. For many disabled children they need transport to meet their school place, but this is not always given. Thanks to Contact a Family for shining a light on this issue."
Take part in our transport inquiry
We've had more than 1,500 responses to our online transport inquiry, and we'd love to reach the 2,000 mark.
Families can share their views today by getting started on our school transport survey.
Parent carer groups, transport providers and commissioners can share their views by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
The survey should take no more than 15 minutes to complete. If you would like the survey sent by hard copy or would prefer to make general comments about school transport, please email email@example.com or call 020 7608 8742.
The deadline for responses is 31 March 2017.