Controversial council transport plans for Melton SEN teenagers backed by judges

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Judges have approved controversial council plans to axe taxi and minibus school transport for older Melton teenagers with special educational needs (SEN).

The Royal Courts of Justice dismissed a Judicial Review into County Hall’s proposals, which are aimed at saving £50million from its under-strain budget.

Instead of vehicle travel being put on to pick up and drop off post-16 SEN students across Leicestershire, their families will have access to personal transport budget (PTB) payments to fund their travel arrangements for school from September next year.

Some parents had complained that the new transport scheme would make it difficult for their children to attend school without access to organised taxis and minibuses.

Blake Pain, county council cabinet member for environment and transport, said: “We welcome the judgement, which dismissed the Judicial Review on all grounds.

“We were very aware of concerns raised by families, but were satisfied that we have followed proper processes in relation to our new policy for post-16 SEN transport arrangements.

“We’ve already contacted parents to let them know about the ‘pause’ to the implementation of the new policy until September 2020 while we awaited the outcome of the Judicial Review.

“As part of this process we confirmed to most parents what type of transport assistance will be provided and we are working hard to confirm these arrangements ahead of the new academic year.”

The council say there will be exceptions allowed based on individual circumstances and there is an appeals procedure if parents are unhappy with the decision given.

Parents of SEN youngsters will be able to claim PTB payments if they take a child to school by car, arrange for a friend or relative to cycle or walk with a child, car share with other parents, get a bus pass for a friend to go with a child or pay for a bus pass for a child;

PTBs will also continue to be available as a voluntary option for families of five-to-six-year-olds with SEN.