The Derby Parent / Carer Forum ( an organisation led by, and for, parents of children with Special Educational Needs (SEN) in the City – funded by Department of Education) ran a meeting on Friday on the subject of “Home to School” transport. The main presentation was delivered by Gavin Morris of SENTAS (Special Educational Needs Transport Advocacy Service) who has recently established himself as an independent, free support service on the whole subject of Local Authority provision of transport. He is based in Derby, and has many years of experience on this subject.
All children who have Special Educational Needs ( pre and post 16) are entitled to be assessed for free transport provision to support their journey to and from school. This can apply to children with all forms of disability – mental / learning / physical. On the face of it, one may wonder why this is a complicated, or even a controversial subject. Sadly, for many parents, it is a source of one of the many battles that they have with the Council over the educational provision for their children, and this is not peculiar to Derby.
These battles can arise from:
- interpretation of legislation
- ambiguous / vague Council policies
- debates over distances from home to school
- debates over need – e.g. autistic children should have “no problem” walking to school
- poor understanding by the Council Transport team on the nature and issues around the range of disabilities
- the tendency to determine blanket policies, when each child’s disability is unique.
- and more….
Derby City Council are currently consulting on Post-16 Home to School Transport policy change( closing date 17 April 2017). LINK to the consultation. It is important that all parents do respond to this document so their views can be registered. There is a risk that parents may find that their children no longer qualify.
Both the Derby Parent / Carer Forum and SENTAS are compiling views on the document which can be available to Parents….to help with a response.
If anyone wants further background on the issues in the Consultation, or advice/advocacy/support on Home to School transport please either contact:
Gavin Morris at SENTAS LINK ( Gavin is open to any approach on Transport questions)
Danielle Lind – Chair Derby Parent Carer Forum LINK
(The Forum is available for supporting Parents in the range of problems that can be experienced with the education of SEN children – school access, EHCP’s etc