‘We are not reducing our bus service, we are actually buying 18 new buses.’ Council leader responds to mum’s transport concerns.

A Havering mum with a special educational needs child is concerned about the council’s latest transport consultation.

Havering Council has sent letters home with proposed new measures for children’s travel.

Fay Hough whose son attend’s Corbet Tey school in Upminster, spoke to the Havering Daily about her concerns.

We have all recently received letters home informing us that Havering Council have launched a travel consultation. I have taken my time to carefully read through this document and from what I can see there are actually quite a few changes proposed.

In a nutshell parents are going to be responsible for their children’s travel arrangements. The pressure is being placed on parents to bring the child to school, to a breakfast club or left to work it out with employers to have flexible working hours.

This letter is clearly a sign to say this is your problem now to parents. Not all employers allow flexible hours or the ability to have childminders.

It also says that they will travel train our children in three months. There is no way they will be able to do that, these are some of the most vulnerable children in our borough. I know my son loves trains if a person approached him and said: “Do you want to go on a train ride with me?” My son would go. We read of so many horrors stories about children going missing and these are vulnerable children.”

The Labour activist has read the documentation thoroughly and continued, “Every child is eligible for transport, that’s the law. It doesn’t matter if they are in a wheelchair or not, if they have anxiety issues or not they are all entitled to it.

They also want to bring assessors to our homes to assess our children. This is not going to give them a full picture of how our children really are. Mum’s have had enough of this now and asking me to bring this forward.

I understand that the borough has to make cuts but why is it always the most vulnerable in the borough that has to suffer?

There are hoards of SEN mums out there that suffering these issues, its time to stand up and let our voices be heard.”

Havering Council Leader, Councillor Damian White said:

We are not cutting the travel for any parents. If they wish their children to still receive transportation, and they are eligible, then that does not change.

We are proposing ways to help reduce journey times and we currently offer alternative ways to pay parents extra. If they wish to bring their own to children to school then we will pay them a greater allowance.

Some pupils find these journeys difficult and disruptive, so this is a way to help pupils. It’s a win-win situation.

This is only for parents who want this. We are not proposing to stop running the buses. As a matter of fact, we are buying 18 new buses and investing more money.

We’ll be providing more travel training, which can be really beneficial for some people and give them skills for life. It will only be for secondary school pupils and college students, as we don’t expect younger children to make their own way to school. The training will be highly personalised and it will look at young people’s vulnerabilities as well as their strengths.

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