(UK) Isle of Thanet: Council struggles to transport special needs students

July 26, 2022, Isle of Thanet News: County Council’s urgent appeal for SEND transport applications to be submitted

SE England Politicians have warned “trust” needs to be rebuilt between a council and Kent parents over special educational needs (SEN) transport failings this year.

The county’s Labour group says families of disabled children have been “let down” by Kent County Council (KCC), the local education authority, after hundreds of SEN young people were unable to get to school in February 2022.

Dozens of taxis and buses did not turn up to the family homes of disabled children to drive them to their school amid contract retendering issues.

KCC’s main opposition leader, Cllr Dr Lauren Sullivan (Lab), said: “We need a system that is genuinely compassionate and understands the stresses and needs of families to make it easier, not put up more barriers, for education.”

Meanwhile, Cllr Alister Brady (Lab), who is KCC’s shadow cabinet member for education, has also lobbied for change. He said: “This is about rebuilding trust….

Last year, KCC’s SEN transport department allocated transport places for 7,384 disabled pupils, including 6521 in school and 863 college students.
The high demand has become increasingly challenging for the council to arrange placements….

"We have written directly to parents to give them details about how to apply so that we can get transport organised for the start of school in September.

“We also made some changes earlier this year to simplify our mainstream transport applications so that we could free up capacity during the busy summer months to deal with SEND transport applications.

“Although we have received many applications so far, there are still some parents who have yet to apply.”…