25-09-2017 School Transport Campaign
We know that many of our members whose children use Transport Services to get to school have had concerns with aspects of the service, and are keen to see changes. As you know, Our Voice has been working with local Transport Services to try to improve the service, and many of you kindly participated in our large-scale survey last year. Our findings and recommendations were published in a report available on our website here.
Our umbrella organisation, Contact, the charity for families with disabled children (previously Contact a Family) have carried out their own investigations on a national basis as part of their School Transport Inquiry, (including input from our local report).
Their School Transport Campaign, the #SchoolRunCrisis campaign was launched on Sunday 10 September with an exclusive feature on BBC Radio5LiveInvestigates which you can download on this page (for the next 28 days): BBC Radio 5Live Investigates. Families with disabled children affected by poor school transport were interviewed for the programme.
Contact are pleased to announce that they have secured a major campaign win on school transport. The Secretary of State for Education has announced plans to review school transport statutory guidance. The decision has been made as a result of findings from Contact's School Transport for Disabled Children Inquiry. This is a major achievement for all the families and local parent carer forums that contributed evidence to Contact’s Inquiry.
A Department for Education spokesperson said: "We are investing £222million over four years to help local authorities improve special educational needs and disability (SEND) services and local authorities must provide school transport for all eligible children with SEND.
"In light of the findings by Contact, the department will review the statutory guidance for local authorities to ensure it is clear."
Amanda Batten, Chief Executive of Contact, says: "This is a huge win for all of us, and we want to say a massive thank you to everyone who submitted evidence to the inquiry. We will work with you when the statutory guidance is reviewed to make sure disabled children get the school transport they need."
Key Findings of the Contact Inquiry report
The Inquiry report was published on Sunday on Radio 5 Live Investigates, and brings together evidence gathered from more than 2.500 parent carers. The key campaign findings were, that:
o Nearly half (48%) of parents with disabled children can’t work or had to reduce hours because of school travel arrangements
o 1 in 5 (23%) of parents say their disabled child struggles to learn because of a stressful journey to school
o More than half (51%) of local school transport policies include unlawful statements
For more information and to support the campaign:
Contact have produced new information for parents with disabled children about school transport and your rights and entitlements.
If you have been refused school transport or want to find out about your rights to school transport, please call the helpline for advice on 0808 808 3555 (Open Monday-Fri 9.30am-5pm)
You can follow and support the campaign by:
Reading the Inquiry report here.
Following the campaign on social media and spreading the word about the campaign on social media: follow the @contactfamilies twitter account and like the Contact Facebook page. Look out for posts with the #SchoolRunCrisis hashtag and please share as much as possible.