Travel Assist- a failed service failing Disabled Children

Back in early October, over a month on from when guides and chaperones were arbitrarily removed from school routes taking disabled children to and from their home three days before the start of term, parents and schools had yet to hear back from officers

0_travel-assist-protest-92018regarding a way forward.

Questions have been asked how these potentially dangerous and last minute changes could have been put through, what is being done to safeguard these children, what risk assessments have been done and why lessons have not been learnt from past years and the OFSTED inspection a few weeks ago. And despite meetings and reassurances given for immediate replies, no answers have been given.

As the Shadow Cabinet Member for Children’s Wellbeing, I have been leading the voice for the parents. I have yet to receive satisfactory answers, but I am pushing hard to have the questions raised, answered by those who have implemented these changes.

Over the weeks I have had meetings with parents, whose children have been affected by this poor decision. Many have expressed that they are their wits end and are at a total disappointment with the actions condoned by the Council.

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As the Governor at Wilson Stuart School, one of the schools affected, I have formally asked for a review into the Travel Service system to ascertain exactly what happened in September, if risk assessments were done to children affected as suggested, that only the children with the lowest needs had their guiding support removed, and why parents and schools were not consulted ahead of these changes being imposed.

With just days after OFSTED rendering a damning judgment on the council’s SEND department, if the Council cannot safeguard the wellbeing of 30 disabled children to and from school, and cannot treat children, schools and families in a humane and compassionate manner, how are we able to trust them with the running of the wider council?

I will continue my battle for these children, schools and parents until all questions have been rightfully answered.

2 thoughts on “Travel Assist- a failed service failing Disabled Children

  1. Melanie cotter

    Withdrawal of Travel Assist Guides.

    This news has been a total shock to me.

    Who is willing to take responsibility, ie liability for any litigation that may be involved should any of these children with complex medical needs come to any significant harm ?

    Are the so called “independent” OT’s categorically stating, following individual assessment, in their reports that these children are safe to travel unattended ? Are these OT’s aware that this would contradict any historical “statements” ? Bearing in mind that these statements were devised and derived from evaluation from a multi disciplinary team from Health and Education ?

    Surely the risks far outweigh any of the benefits.

    It is an entitlement of these children to have transport to and from school. Any solicitor would find these kind of litigation cases easy money surely ?

    Thanks.

    Like

  2. Melanie cotter

    Just to supplement my previous comment. It is stated clearly in the SEN Code of Practice 2015 :

    9.215 Transport should be recorded in the EHC plan only in exceptional cases where the child has particular transport needs. Local authorities must have clear general arrangements and policies relating to transport for children and young people with SEN or disabilities that must be made available to parents and young people, and these should be included in the Local Offer.

    Nb. I would have thought that the majority of the children concerned have particular transport needs. Are Parents able to access the LA’s clear policies relating to transport for children and young people with SEN ?

    Like

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