How Safe are our Children?

A full independent inquiry is to take place into the council’s home to school transport service after it was revealed that SEVEN children were taken to wrong schools at the start of the Autumn term. Meanwhile Cllr Kate Booth, continued to refuse calls to accept responsibilty and resign, insisting that she was ‘sticking with’ her portfolio despite her declaring this as her top priority.

The past few weeks have seen parents from across the city in uproar over the arrangements for home to school transport, with children transported to the wrong school, buses not showing up to collect children and parents left in the dark about the arrangements for their child, with no way of contacting authorities.

The incidents are just the latest in a long line of controversies around the service, with it being revealed earlier this year that one driver who failed a DBS check was allowed to work with children unchecked, and children with SEND dropped off at the wrong school.

A 280-signature petition demanding answers has been started by parents, and on Monday (Sep 14) the Chair of the Birmingham Special School Head Teacher Association, Denise Fountain, wrote to the council saying the organisation had ‘no confidence in the organisations who are responsible for managing’ the transport, calling the service ‘complete chaos’ and adding how schools were ‘creating a safety net for schools transport’, by collecting children the service has missed.

Another councillor claimed that one of his constituents had made 51 calls to the Travel Assist number in a single day, none of which were answered, while it was also revealed that seven children have been taken to the wrong school so far this year – with only one such incident in the previous three years.

And several members of the council’s Conservative group called on Cllr Booth to resign during the meeting, with fears that service users will be facing the same issues two years down the line.

“For years now things have been unacceptable,” said Cllr Alex Yip (Con, Sutton Wylde Green) Shadow Cabinet Member for Children’s Wellbeing.

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