By on June 1, 2011

Cambridgeshire Liberal Democrats are challenging a controversial decision to end school transport for youngsters with special educational needs.

The move, by the county council’s ruling Tory group, would leave parents driving their children to their lessons.

Lib Dems are worried that the decision could mean some parents will face long drives for two round trips to schools which are as much as 75 minutes away from their homes.

They fear it could mean some parents would have to give up work just to make sure their children got to their classes on time.

Now the Lib Dems are planning to call in the decision made by Cambridgeshire County Council’s Cabinet which would see the end of children being collected from their homes and taken to school by taxpayer-funded transport.

Lucy Nethsingha, Lib Dem Spokesperson for Children and Young People, said:

“By expecting families with Special Educational Needs children to accompany them to school, the council is expecting them to give up substantial amounts of time.

“Many children with Special Educational Needs come from single parent families, and it is difficult enough for those parents to access work, without the council making it even harder.”

In fact, the Cabinet paper highlights Cllr Nethsingha’s concerns when it says:

“It is recognised that the changes will potentially reduce the flexibility some parents have to access work and other opportunities. Actions will be taken to seek to reduce this impact.”

But it gives no indication of what these actions might be and no answers were forthcoming when Cllr Nethsingha raised it at Cabinet.

Cambridge County Councillor, Belinda Brooks-Gordon said:

“This proposal means that parents could have to give up work to drive their children to special schools.

“For children who have multiple difficulties it would create even more problems. This decision does not make economic nor environmental sense because it puts more cars on our already congested roads.

“I am fighting this decision on behalf of a family in my ward, and for other families for whom this decision would be a disaster. The county council does not realise that many of these families are at the limit of what they can manage already.”

About Peterborough Lib Dems

The Peterborough Liberal Democrats were formed in spring 1988 on merger of the old Liberal and Social Democratic parties. Life has often been a struggle but today it has emerged intact, boosted by electoral success and an expanding membership and with great prospects for the future!