Haringey Community Press

Haringey Community Press

Consultation launched on changes to special needs school transport

Concerns raised over parents' involvement in developing council Send policies

Hero for Consultation launched on changes to special needs school transport
Haringey Civic Centre

A consultation has been launched on proposed changes to Haringey Council’s school transport policy for children with special educational needs and disabilities (Send).A consultation has been launched on proposed changes to Haringey Council’s school transport policy for children with special educational needs and disabilities (Send).

The council says the revisions would provide a “more detailed account of how decisions are made” and “ensure that there is less confusion and misinformation in the community”.The council says the revisions would provide a “more detailed account of how decisions are made” and “ensure that there is less confusion and misinformation in the community”.

But a longtime campaigner for more engagement between the council and parents on Send issues raised concerns that not every user had been told about the consultation, and that the process was not transparent enough.But a longtime campaigner for more engagement between the council and parents on Send issues raised concerns that not every user had been told about the consultation, and that the process was not transparent enough.

Proposed updates to the policy include changes to the calculation of personal travel budgets, which are designed to help parents to make transport arrangements for their children if the free bus service is unsuitable.Proposed updates to the policy include changes to the calculation of personal travel budgets, which are designed to help parents to make transport arrangements for their children if the free bus service is unsuitable.

The council could also introduce behaviour standards to ensure children and young people are kept safe, and cut-off dates for applications to “reduce disruption to the service and inform effective planning”.The council could also introduce behaviour standards to ensure children and young people are kept safe, and cut-off dates for applications to “reduce disruption to the service and inform effective planning”.

Further proposals include more detail on how the council makes decisions that inform eligibility for home to school transport, and information on how to appeal against decisions.Further proposals include more detail on how the council makes decisions that inform eligibility for home to school transport, and information on how to appeal against decisions.

The council has repeatedly insisted it is committed to “co-production” with residents. But Brian Leveson, who writes a blog called 'Difficult Parent', raised concerns it was not doing enough to fully engage over the consultation.The council has repeatedly insisted it is committed to “co-production” with residents. But Brian Leveson, who writes a blog called 'Difficult Parent', raised concerns it was not doing enough to fully engage over the consultation.

One particular concern he raised was the impact of rising fuel prices on personal travel budgets. Brian said: “If inflation goes up 5% halfway through the year, do you get an uplift on that? There is an annual benefit uprating – is there anything like that for this? If petrol costs go up again, which they are, are people encouraged to think about that?”One particular concern he raised was the impact of rising fuel prices on personal travel budgets. Brian said: “If inflation goes up 5% halfway through the year, do you get an uplift on that? There is an annual benefit uprating – is there anything like that for this? If petrol costs go up again, which they are, are people encouraged to think about that?”

Brian also questioned whether the council had done enough to raise awareness of the consultation, claiming not every Send transport user had been contacted. He said his wife had received an email from the council about it but he had not, and the council “can’t be sure that information has passed from one person to another”.Brian also questioned whether the council had done enough to raise awareness of the consultation, claiming not every Send transport user had been contacted. He said his wife had received an email from the council about it but he had not, and the council “can’t be sure that information has passed from one person to another”.

In addition, he criticised the digital-only consultation as not being inclusive enough; the absence of dedicated translations, with people encouraged to use Google Translate instead; and the complexity of the two policy documents, which run to between 41 and 50 pages.In addition, he criticised the digital-only consultation as not being inclusive enough; the absence of dedicated translations, with people encouraged to use Google Translate instead; and the complexity of the two policy documents, which run to between 41 and 50 pages.

“What concerns us is nobody within the borough has defined what they mean by co-production,” Brian said. “They have not said ‘this is what good co-production is’.”“What concerns us is nobody within the borough has defined what they mean by co-production,” Brian said. “They have not said ‘this is what good co-production is’.”

The council says it has tried to spread notifications about the Send home-to-school transport consultation far and wide, with correspondence sent to parents and carers via email, text and letters. It has also used social media channels, a magazine and newsletter, plus on-street advertising to raise awareness of the consultation.The council says it has tried to spread notifications about the Send home-to-school transport consultation far and wide, with correspondence sent to parents and carers via email, text and letters. It has also used social media channels, a magazine and newsletter, plus on-street advertising to raise awareness of the consultation.

Zena Brabazon, cabinet member for children, schools and families, said: “We’re absolutely committed and determined to co-design and co-produce policies and strategies that best serve our children and young people with Send, their carers or parents and family members here in Haringey.Zena Brabazon, cabinet member for children, schools and families, said: “We’re absolutely committed and determined to co-design and co-produce policies and strategies that best serve our children and young people with Send, their carers or parents and family members here in Haringey.

“I’ve seen some really encouraging progress being made in terms of embedding co-design and co-production across our Send service provision and our staff are continuing to work hard to get the word out there.“I’ve seen some really encouraging progress being made in terms of embedding co-design and co-production across our Send service provision and our staff are continuing to work hard to get the word out there.

“I would encourage everybody involved in Send in our borough to actively engage with us and give us their valued feedback and inputs on the travel assistance policy for home-to-school transport consultation.“I would encourage everybody involved in Send in our borough to actively engage with us and give us their valued feedback and inputs on the travel assistance policy for home-to-school transport consultation.

“There are many ways in which you can provide your views, and the more people we hear back from, the better placed we’ll all be to implement a policy that ultimately best meets the needs and requirements of children and young people who require travel assistance to school and post-16 learning provision. That’s what we all want at the end of the day.”“There are many ways in which you can provide your views, and the more people we hear back from, the better placed we’ll all be to implement a policy that ultimately best meets the needs and requirements of children and young people who require travel assistance to school and post-16 learning provision. That’s what we all want at the end of the day.”

The consultation will run until 31st July. For more information:The consultation will run until 31st July. For more information:

Visit haringey.gov.uk/children-and-families/local-offer/about-local-offer/SEND-consultations/send-home-school-transport-consultationVisit haringey.gov.uk/children-and-families/local-offer/about-local-offer/SEND-consultations/send-home-school-transport-consultation