Mum 'grateful funding will continue' for SEND after school transport
- Credit: Joe Giddens/PA Wire
A mum who campaigned for Cambridgeshire County Council not to cut after school transport funding for children with special education needs and disabilities (SEND) says she is “grateful it will continue for another 12 months."
At a meeting of the children and young people committee on May 17, councillors unanimously agreed to continue the scheme, meaning SEND children will get free travel to after school clubs for another year.
The agreement was welcomed by mum Nadia Bowles who said families with children who have disabilities are “incredibly anxious” about the cost-of-living crisis.
She added that she had concerns about the possibility of moving to a means tested scheme in the future.
In a statement that was read out at the meeting, Nadia said: “While understandable that the local authority is wanting to consider means testing in the future, it may be fitting to investigate this further following the winter months.
“I believe families’ financial situations may change dramatically owing to the continued rising costs.”
She added: “While a rational idea going forward, I am not confident whether means testing and consequent contributions to transport from families will do much to lighten the costs to the local authority.”
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Cambridgeshire County Council (CCC) has been funding the transport for five schools in the county since 2011, with 54 children currently receiving the free service.
The funding is now also due to be made available to all of the SEND schools in Cambridgeshire but funding approval is still needed from the strategy and resources committee.
Cllr Samantha Hoy welcomed the planned expansion telling the meeting it should be “all or nothing” and that it was not fair for some schools to have the funded transport and not others.
The Mayor of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority, Dr Nik Johnson, sent a statement to the committee saying he was pleased to see the recommendations in the report.
He added that he recognised the challenges the local government faces with “finite financial resources”.
He said: "I am keen to offer you the support of the Combined Authority in helping explore innovative, collaborative solutions to ensure that the provision of the transport service continues long into the future."