Home-to-School Transport for 0-25yr olds in Education

Labour-controlled Birmingham City Council today voted to push ahead with an entire overhaul of their 0-25yr old home-to-school Assisted Transport service despite concerns raised by parents, cross party councillors and the Department for Education.

These changes combine all transport arrangements for everyone using home-to-school transport. After the initial decision was ‘called in’ by my myself and Cllr Debbie Clancy, and unanimously agreed by the cross-party Children’s Social Care Overview and Scrutiny Committee, the matter was referred back to Cabinet for their reconsideration 22nd May 2019.

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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.