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(UK) Leicester: End of school busing for older SPED students

Mar 10, 2024, BBC News: Leicester: Fears over end of school transport for older SEND pupils

Parents of children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) are "deeply worried" over the halting of transport for older pupils.

Leicester City Council is scrapping financial support and transport for pupils aged 16 to 19, with a school placement over three miles from their home.

The decision to remove the support was made in 2022 following a consultation.

A two-year transition has been extended to finish later this year.

The city council says about 450 children could be affected by the change, and attributes the decision to funding cuts from the government.

It said: "After considerable consultation, we gave parents more than two years notice of our intention to end this funding."

'It's changed our lives'

Ruth Northey, a single mother from Clarendon Park, found what seemed like the perfect school in Derby for her 15-year-old daughter who has autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and dyscalculia - a learning difficulty in understanding numbers.

The placement allowed Ruth to return to work as an academic.

But she now faces having to quit her job to take her daughter to and from school each day.

. . .

The Leicester pupil said: "I believe the majority of students, especially in my school, 16 and over, simply aren't capable of using public transport or getting to school independently.

"I feel that's the same with a lot of the special needs students in Leicester."

Nicole Wright, SEND advocate at organisation Sunshine Support, said: "I think you'll see a rise in a number of children who aren't accessing education, or their attendance is sliding because they are not managing to do it every day because of the impact on a family.

"For example, if they are having to do that journey then the family will miss other appointments such as doctor appointments, or doing the food shopping."

A spokesperson for the council said: "Unfortunately, due to many years of severe government cuts to our funding, we are having to look at all of the services we provide that are not required by law.

"After considerable consultation, we gave parents more than two years notice of our intention to end this funding.

"Parents who believe they have exceptional circumstances can contact us. They can also talk to the special educational needs link officer, who they will know, in their child's school.

"We won't comment on individual appeals, but will consider the educational needs of the young people concerned in all cases."


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