Hampshire to end door-to-door school transport for disabled children

By David George   |   Local Democracy Reporter for Hampshire   |
Tuesday 19th July 2022 11:00 am
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Hampshire County Council’s home-to-school transport service currently takes 12,000 children with special educational needs and disabilities to and from school each day
Hampshire County Council’s home-to-school transport service currently takes 12,000 children with special educational needs and disabilities to and from school each day (Jon Tyson / Unsplash )

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Almost a million pounds are set to be cut from the budget that gets disabled youngsters to and from school.

Following a public consultation, Hampshire County Council is looking to slash the home-to-school transport budget by £986,000.

The service currently takes 12,000 children to and from school each day, with special educational needs and disabilities.

However, the county council now plans to use more dedicated pick-up and drop-off points, rather than going directly to children’s homes.

Multiple children could also be taken on single journeys, the county council has suggested.

Director of children’s services, Steve Crocker, said: ‘These proposed changes would allow for route planning and vehicle use to utilise the efficiencies provided by increased use of collective pick-up points and multiple destinations.

‘There is no statutory requirement for home to school transport to be a door-to-door service or to provide for individual establishments.

‘Parents can be asked to accompany their child to and from a collection point.’

Parents of these children have already voiced their opposition to these proposals.

The public consultation, which ran between January and March this year, received 945 responses – with 71 per cent being against the use of pick-uo and drop-off points.

Parents cited concerns with stress and anxiety, particularly with how the children deal with changes to their routines, and the potential exposure to busy roads and bad weather.

Mr Crocker said: ‘The country council is committed to promoting inclusivity and access for all for pupils to a range of appropriate transport services.

‘The plans recognise a need to support the development of road safety skills of children and young people with SEND to increase awareness of safety and help children accessing collections and drop off points can do so safely.

‘The implementation of a strengths-based approach will help prepare children for adulthood.

‘The exploration of a variety of transport options, and their use in appropriate circumstances, will facilitate increased independence for children, where it is appropriate to do so.’

The report will go before the children and young people select committee on Tuesday morning.

It is then due before the executive member, Cllr Roz Chadd, who will make the final decision.

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