Tuesday, 4 November 2008

We hit the front page of the Yorkshire Evening Post again today...

The exclusive headline was '£4.2M SCHOOL RUN SHOCK' and the story highlighted that we are spending £21500 every day to ferry young people to schools in taxis quoting Susie Squire who argued that this shows our "total failure to plan properly for the needs of local people" and Cllr Keith Wakefield who said that "the money is currently being wasted".

Why does everyone firstly assume that this is wrong and not look at the facts to see if actually this is Leeds doing the very best for its most special children. People conveniently forget that we have a statutory duty to provide home to school transport for children in care and for children and young people with special educational needs up to the age of 25. This money actually provides for taxis and escorts for children with special educational needs and some of the most vulnerable children in our care.

Wherever possible we are developing independent travel training to reduce dependency on taxis and minibuses and we only use taxis when public transport is inappropriate or unsafe. However, if we didn't provide taxis and escorts for these very special young people to get to school, I wonder what the headlines would say?

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